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California Senate proposal tackles rents, economic recovery

California would cover rent payments for some low-income residents impacted by the coronavirus under a proposal unveiled Tuesday that is backed by state Senate leaders.

Posted: May 12, 2020 3:34 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California would cover rent payments for some low-income residents impacted by the coronavirus under a proposal unveiled Tuesday that is backed by state Senate leaders.

Under the plan, the state would give landlords tax credits equal to the value of their missed payments, which they could keep or sell. Tenants would then have up to 10 years to pay back missed rents to the state, with some not having to pay the full amount because of an unspecified hardship exemption.

“This is not a giveaway to anyone,” Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford said. “Our goal is to keep tenants housed and keep landlords out of foreclosure.”

The proposal is part of an ambitious new economic recovery plan that includes a separate $25 billion economic recovery fund that small businesses, nonprofits and local governments could tap to help weather the virus-induced downturn.

The money would come from people voluntarily prepaying taxes for 2024 through 2033. The state would get the money upfront, while taxpayers would get a discount.

It would take an estimated two years to fill up the fund. However, the state could start spending the money sooner to help stimulate the economy. Beginning in 2024, state revenues would be as much as $3 billion less each year until 2033. Legislative leaders believe the economic crisis will have passed and the state’s annual operating budget of more than $200 billion could easily absorb the losses.

“The ultimate effect of course would enable taxpayers to invest in California to help California struggling through this very challenging crisis,” Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg said.

Tom Bannon, chief executive officer for the California Apartment Association, called the proposal a “creative effort.” He said the association that represents owners, investors, developers and managers of apartments wants to refine the proposal but he did not give details.

The proposals come as lawmakers are scrambling to craft a state budget with $54.3 billion less than lawmakers had planned in January. Gov. Gavin Newsom is scheduled to reveal his spending proposal on Thursday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins on Tuesday vowed the chamber would avoid major ongoing program cuts or broad middle class tax increases, saying those options work in the short-term but “actually cause more economic damage and prolong our budget struggles.”

Senate Budget Committee chair Holly Mitchell, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said lawmakers have identified savings approaching $100 billion over the next two years. About $41 billion would come from the state’s reserves and other budget maneuvers that include internal borrowing and shifting some costs to future years.

Most of the rest would come from the federal government, with lawmakers estimating they would get $33 billion from what they hope will be an upcoming aid package. Newsom and leaders from four other Western states signed a letter to Congress on Monday asking for $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments.

But some Republican leaders have warned not to count on that money. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove, who represents Bakersfield, did not sign the letter asking Congress for the help.

“I could not support an effort that continues to allow our state government to run (amok) without protecting industries by streamlining burdensome government regulations, reforming unsustainable projects, and supporting private businesses which are California’s vital economic engine,” she said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 783313

Reported Deaths: 15018
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2598176330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52287908
Orange518731127
San Diego44293796
Kern31261350
Fresno27560355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20494374
Santa Clara20252296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16289332
Contra Costa15734199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12236143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1069697
San Mateo9522143
Monterey936066
Santa Barbara8846110
Merced8750134
Kings726877
Sonoma6998114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer342841
San Luis Obispo336027
Yolo274054
Butte273835
Santa Cruz21898
Sutter164210
Napa160413
San Benito129011
Yuba11187
El Dorado10644
Mendocino83318
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4904
Humboldt4826
Lake45910
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1642
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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Chester
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Heat and haze were on the menu today but a cool-down is in the works for next week.
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