What’s in the Federal Stimulus for Californians?

Tuesday: State officials estimated that California and Californians would get $150 billion. Here’s a closer look at where the money is expected to go.

By Jill Cowan

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Good morning.

Last week, President Biden signed into law a historic, wide-reaching $1.9 trillion stimulus package aimed at throwing a lifeline to Americans struggling through the pandemic.

In California, the news has come as a particular relief.

Many businesses here have been closed or restricted for a year. Children have been learning from home, and mothers have borne a disproportionate burden caring for them. Essential workers have been reporting to their jobs without a guarantee that they’d be able to take time off if they or a family member got sick.

[Here are the answers to questions about the stimulus and how it will affect you.]

The pot of stimulus money going to the state government, $26 billion, was so large that officials here were put on the defensive after they revised the state’s budget projection at the beginning of the year. They had been expecting a daunting $54 billion deficit last year. Instead, state officials in January projected a $15 billion surplus.

But officials have emphasized that the surplus is essentially already accounted for, because of various state-funded relief programs.

And for Californians, the economic pain will be lasting — and federal aid is necessary.

“Don’t equate where we are on a revenue basis with where we are on an economy basis,” said H.D. Palmer, a deputy director of the state’s Department of Finance. “It is going to take us at least two years, if not longer, for us to get back to prepandemic employment levels.”

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