California lawmakers have little more than a week to decide what they’re going to do about gas rebates.
July 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year, which means Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to sign off on a spending plan by June 30. Earlier this year, Newsom pledged to use some of the state’s nearly $100 billion surplus to issue gas rebates to Californians, but disagreements with Democratic leaders in the Legislature over how those rebates should be distributed have prevented any plans from being finalized.
During a Monday press conference unveiling a select committee to study gas price gouging, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said the two sides had a “long, long weekend” of negotiations and “certainly made progress.” He said Californians can “certainly” expect to see something in the form of a gas rebate before October.
The root of the disagreement between Newsom and Democrats in the Legislature is over who should receive payments. Newsom wants to send $400 in the form of debit cards to vehicle owners (up to $800 for drivers with more than one vehicle) and would hire a third-party vendor to work with the Department of Motor Vehicles in issuing those payments. Members of the Legislature, on the other hand, want the state Franchise Tax Board — the agency that distributed state-issued pandemic relief checks — to issue $200 to residents making less than $125,000 (for joint filers, the threshold is $250,000) regardless of whether they own a vehicle.
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