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California governor signs $7.6 billion stimulus package

Posted at 11:05 AM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 00:35:08-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package.

The new laws will give at least $600 one-time payments to 5.7 million people while setting aside more than $2 billion in grants for struggling small businesses.

Newsom signed the law as Congress is debating a much larger stimulus package for the nation.

California's stimulus package will give up to $25,000 grants to small businesses with revenues between $1,000 and $2.5 million.

Most people will get the $600 payments by claiming the California earned income tax credit on their state tax returns.

Jim Dantona, President and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, is cautiously optimistic about the relief package.

"This new grant is going to be great because it is five times as much but as we know with all the grant programs, you still can't get to everyone," he said. "Right now, all they've done is signed on the line and said we're going to put this out there. They haven't really decided how to get that money out and who does it go to first."

The bill also contains fee waivers for places like hair salons, barbershops, and bars and restaurants that sell alcohol. This means business owners would not have to renew their licenses for two years.

The owner of Winesneak, Ash Mehta, wanted to know, "What happens to the liquor license? We already paid ours, so what happens to us? Do we get that money back?"

Mehta was one of the small business owners who received a grant from San Luis Obispo County last month. He said it has been hard finding other grants and support.

Another grant recipient and owner of Tigerlily Salon, Larella Ellsworth, said, "It's been a really difficult thing for salons because we have been shuttered completely, so any little thing helps. We've been closed almost as many days as we've been open."