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California lawmakers considering state's own unemployment benefit

Virus Outbreak California Budget
Posted at 10:51 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 13:52:00-04

As part of the CARES Act, a coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress in March, federal unemployment benefits were increased by $600 a week. At the time, lawmakers thought it was a necessary move as millions lost their jobs amid lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus.

Congressional lawmakers continue to work on the next economic stimulus package and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently held a press conference regarding the extension of increased unemployment benefits, hours before those benefits are set to expire. Though the new stimulus bill is slated to have $1,200 checks for most Americans, it would reduce weekly aid from $600 a week to $200 a week.

However, there is now support among state legislators to provide supplemental unemployment benefits if Congress fails to act on their new stimulus bill.

“There are so many people who are relying on that money to pay rent, to buy food. I think the state has to do everything possible to help them pay their bills,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

The issue was raised as part of a $100 billion stimulus plan.

Democrats who control California’s Legislature are proposing a $100 billion economic stimulus plan that relies on what they are calling future tax vouchers. They also want to speed up other spending during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan would allow the state treasurer to issue tax vouchers that proponents said could raise billions of dollars. The state would let taxpayers prepay their taxes for a future budget year at a slight discount.