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AARP Urges Governor Newsom to Include Moderate-Income Retirees in Next Round of Golden State Stimulus Checks

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THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS SENT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM ON JUNE 4, 2021:

Dear Governor Newsom:

AARP has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than sixty years. On behalf of our 3.3 million members, and all older Californians, we appreciate your leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, you took a bold step by issuing $600 Golden State Stimulus checks to low-income working Californians. On May 10, you unveiled the California Comeback Plan, which stems from an unprecedented $75.7 billion surplus in the state’s general fund and $27 billion from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and announced a second round of Golden State Stimulus checks. This second round of stimulus checks would give $600 to taxpayers earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and an additional $500 to families with dependent children. While AARP California applauds this assistance to working families, we are writing to urge you and the legislature to make every effort to include California’s retirees among the recipients of this next round of Golden State Stimulus checks.

As you know, older Californians and their families have been particularly hard-hit by both the health and financial impacts of this pandemic. That is why it is important for California’s leaders to work together to address the needs of our older residents. The average annual Social Security benefit in California is a modest $17,954, which older residents must use to cover the increasing costs of food, utilities, health care, and caregiving during this pandemic. AARP members tell us they are counting on you and your colleagues in the legislature to ensure that retirees of modest income also receive $600 checks as part of California’s next round of stimulus, and, to the extent possible, that older Californians who do not typically file tax returns are able to receive their stimulus payments automatically. We also urge you to expand the definition of dependents to include those who care for adult dependents in addition to those who care for children.

People over the age of 50 contribute to California’s economy in a positive way and in an outsized proportion to their share of the population; and they will drive our state’s economic growth for the next 30 years. In 2018, Californians age 50 and older accounted for 33% of California’s population, yet contributed 37%—or $1,062 billion—of the state’s total GDP. Their activities also supported 9.8 million jobs and generated $733 billion in wages and salaries. It is essential that our state recognize the contributions of the longevity economy and have policies in place to help support this important economic engine.

AARP California is grateful to  you and our state legislators for your continuing work to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has gravely impacted our members and all older Californians who have  lost so many loved ones.  The human toll will be felt in our families and communities for years to come. For these reasons, we urge you and the legislature to provide the next round of stimulus relief to California’s modest-income retirees, along with modest-income working families.  If you have any questions, you may contact Blanca Castro, Advocacy Director at bcastro@aarp.org or (916) 556-3021.

Sincerely,

Nancy McPherson

State Director

CC:

Members of the California State Senate and Assembly

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