One Year Later, the American Rescue Plan Continues to Deliver for California
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the one-year anniversary of President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan Act into law, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) released the following statement highlighting the economic impact the legislation has had on the lives of Californians.
“The American Rescue Plan has had a transformative impact on communities, families, and livelihoods across California,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “The legislation helped make vaccines and COVID tests widely available, keep small businesses afloat, reopen schools, and strengthen our economy leading to record-setting job creation. We have also made meaningful investments in everything from mental health services to improving the safety of our communities and providing tax relief for hardworking families. While there is still work to be done to ensure this recovery is felt by everyone, the ARP helped ensure that Californians and the American people see a brighter future beyond the pandemic.”
Senator Padilla voted to pass the American Rescue Plan as one of his first votes in the Senate. The historic legislation has provided billions of dollars for Californians, including $27 billion in fiscal relief funding to the state and $15.9 billion in fiscal relief funding for California’s local governments.
State, Local, and Tribal Aid
The legislation supported essential government workers, functions, and critical safety net programs by allocating approximately $43 billion to the State of California, cities, and counties, and by providing over $1.6 billion directly in support of Tribal governments in California with additional funding for Tribal communities, the largest amount of assistance to tribal governments in history.
The State of California has used this funding to support a strong, equitable recovery from the pandemic, including by increasing services for people experiencing homelessness, delivering energy and water utility assistance, and expanding access to behavioral health services.
For example, San Diego County has allocated $85 million to provide accessible COVID-19 testing through investments in the public health laboratory and regional testing system, to develop expanded and equitable capacity for testing, and to conduct culturally tailored outreach. Meanwhile, Contra Costa County will invest $11.5 million in maintaining, improving, and expanding testing, vaccination, contact tracing, public health epidemiology, communication with the public, and purchase and distribution of PPE.
The ARP invested approximately $15 billion to help California’s K-12 schools reopen safely and comply with CDC guidelines, and allocated $5 billion to California colleges and universities, half of which is dedicated to emergency financial aid for students.
Today, 99 percent of K-12 schools are open. Before ARP, only 46 percent of schools were open in-person.
California received nearly $100 million to support the needs of students experiencing homelessness.
The ARP provided billions of dollars in additional funding to address the pandemic, including for vaccines, testing, and tracing. To date, the administration has distributed 200 million vaccines and millions of therapeutics using ARP dollars. There are also now 375 million at-home tests available per month.
175 community health centers in California received nearly $1 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, provide ongoing testing and treatment, and ensure vulnerable communities have access to the care they need amid the ongoing pandemic.
Health insurance coverage in California increased by 9 percent (representing approximately 1,781,000 newly insured Californians) due to the expansions of cost-saving subsidies in the American Rescue Plan.
As a result of the ARP, families were able to keep more money in their pockets, with actual savings of $67 per month per person in premiums – that’s more than $800 each year per person for groceries, child care, or other essentials.
The ARP has strengthened California’s public health system by expanding our public health workforce and infrastructure, including through funding for the National Health Service Corps and community health centers.
It also supported Medicaid by expanding the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to provide extra funding and ensure full coverage of COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment.
The law expanded the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year, increasing the benefit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under 6) and making it fully refundable and advanceable, which benefits more than 7.5 million children in California. Between July and December 2021, advance Child Tax Credit payments delivered $10.6 billion to more than 4.2 million California households.
It also included a one-year enhancement of the Earned Income Tax Credit for 1.85 million California workers without children by nearly tripling the maximum credit from $540 to $1,500 – the first increase since 1993 – and extended the credit to both younger and older workers.
Housing and Homelessness
The ARP helped to address California’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis by allocating over $2 billion in emergency rental assistance, over $1 billion in homeowner assistance, and $155 million in HOME-ARP funds to provide housing, rental assistance, supportive services, and non-congregate shelter, to reduce homelessness and increase housing stability.
Nearly $31 million for affordable housing grants has also been awarded to 105 tribes across California.
For example, Los Angeles County will invest $10 million into creating permanent supportive and interim housing for individuals and families with complex health or behavioral health conditions who are experiencing homelessness by constructing new modular, prefabricated, or container housing on County-owned or City-owned or leased property, and by the strategic renovation of existing County facilities.
The ARP powered a historic jobs recovery and ensured less long-term unemployment than any recovery in memory.
California’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent, and the state has now regained over 70 percent of the 2.7 million jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ARP and other recovery programs took decisive action to stabilize small businesses, helping them keep their doors open and staff on payroll. But beyond the immediate crisis, these programs are making transformational investments in expanding access to credit and entrepreneurship support in underserved communities.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund delivered more than $5.7 billion to nearly 16,000 recipients across California. Nearly 1,400 California venues received more than $1 billion in aid from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program.
Los Angeles invested $25 million into its Restaurant and Small Business Recovery Program’s “Comeback Checks,” which provided $5,000 grants to 5,000 eligible microenterprises and small businesses located and operating in the City. The program has served over 1,600 businesses so far. Funds can be used for eligible business expenses, including payroll, commercial rent, utilities, insurance, and adaptive business practices needed to operate the business.
Concord, California has allocated $1 million to the Commercial Rent Relief Program to provide a one-time grant of $10,000 to small businesses that experienced adverse financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program assisted 95 small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and at least $10,000 in commercial rent arrears. Retail, restaurant, and personal service establishments, many of which experienced mandatory closure or limited capacity during shelter-in-place orders, received funding priority.
The ARP provided $3.8 billion to stabilize California’s child care sector and make child care more affordable for families.
It also helped families access high-quality child care by expanding the Child and Dependent Tax Credit to allow families to claim up to half of their child care expenses. The ARP increased the maximum credit by more than six times to up to $8,000 towards child care expenses in 2021 for a median-income family with two children under age 13 (compared with a maximum of $1,200 in 2020).
This credit will reimburse most families for up to half of their child care expenses (as compared to only 20 percent of expenses in 2020 for most families).
The legislation increased SNAP benefits by 15 percent through September 30, 2021, providing an extra $117 million per month to support the millions of Californians that rely on this program.
The ARP provided more than $5 billion to ensure access to safe, reliable transit services in California.
It also helped California airports respond to the pandemic by providing $898 million in relief.