BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The pandemic has left many in Kern County with empty pockets, and the governor says he wants to help. Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers want to give $600 to Californians struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. The state says it will make over 5 million of these payments, but not just anyone is eligible.
“People with annual incomes below $30,000 per year, and some undocumented and mixed-status families,” said Jeff Schwartz, a financial advisor. “Those with individual tax ID numbers as opposed to social security numbers, recipients of cash assistance programs for immigrants.”
Experts say it’s simple to get the payments.
It’s not like they have to apply for it, they’ll just get it,” said Schwartz. “They can just look at the 2019 tax returns. If your income is below a certain amount of money, you get a benefit.”
The state plans to give out $9.6 billion total. $2 billion of that will go to small businesses affected by the pandemic. Struggling mom and pop shops can get grants up to $25,000. Meanwhile some experts say it may be too little, too late.
“Is it enough? Possibly not. Probably not, I would say,” said Schwartz. “$25,000 sounds like it’s a lot of money. The question is how long is going to last for what period of time, and for what businesses?”
$24 million will support farmers around the state, giving a boost to Kern’s largest industry. The plan also includes $100 million of emergency relief for some community college students. The state has not told anyone when to expect payments, and legislators plan to vote on the relief plan as early as Monday.