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California Gov. Newsom, legislature reach deal on COVID-19 relief package

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature announced Wednesday they reached a deal on a relief package including direct payment and grants for small businesses.  Pool Photo by Jae C. Hong/UPI
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature announced Wednesday they reached a deal on a relief package including direct payment and grants for small businesses.  Pool Photo by Jae C. Hong/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers announced Wednesday they reached a deal on a COVID-19 relief package for individuals, families and businesses in the state.

The agreement includes plans to provide direct payments to some Californians, grants for small businesses and funding for a program that provides housing for farmworkers who have contracted the coronavirus.

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"As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I'm grateful for the Legislature's partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it's needed most," Newsom said in a statement.

The agreement provides $600 one-time payments to Californians who are eligible for the California earned income tax credit for 2020 as well as undocumented immigrants and others whose Individual Tax Identification Numbers prevented them from receiving federal stimulus payments.

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Under the plan, households that were ineligible for the federal stimulus and have an income less than $75,000 would receive a one-time payment of $1,200 after filing their tax returns.

The agreement also broadens the plan to provide a $600 one-time grant to those enrolled in the CalWORKS program and recipients of supplemental security income and the state's Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants program.

Additionally, the government would quadruple the amount available for grants for small businesses and cultural institutions impacted by the pandemic from $500 million to more than $2 billion.

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"With billions of additional dollars we will have the capacity to provide ... tens of thousands of additional small businesses, non-profit and cultural centers grants from $5,000 to $25,000," Newsom said at a news conference.

Another provision would grant $24 million in financial assistance and services through Housing for the Harvest, which places agricultural workers who have no other place to isolate after being infected with COVID-19 in hotels.

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