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Newsom Includes $1.5 Billion for Electric Cars in Proposed Coronavirus Relief Bill

Gavin Newsom promotes electric cars in 2010 / Getty Images
• January 6, 2021 3:30 pm

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California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) proposed a multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief package that includes a $1.5 billion carveout for the electric-car industry—a longtime priority for the liberal governor.

If passed, the Economic Recovery for California's Small Businesses and Jobs Plan will fund rebates for electric-vehicle purchases and allocate $300 million for "greening" state infrastructure by installing charging stations for electric cars in public buildings.

Small businesses would receive less than the electric-car industry under the plan, released Tuesday, with $1 billion in total aid in the form of loans, grants, and tax credits. Businesses that incurred fines for remaining open in defiance of state or local lockdown orders during the pandemic would be eligible for waivers under the proposed legislation.

The proposed economic-recovery plan is part of Newsom's 2021 budget proposal, which is expected to be released in full on Friday.

Television personality and restaurant owner Andrew Gruel told the Washington Free Beacon that he believes a budget proposal to help businesses should focus on resuscitating businesses killed by government shutdowns.

"I'd like to see a bill attempt to patch together the restaurants that have already gone under and have not gotten any assistance," Gruel said. "Every dollar of this program should go directly to business owners without strings attached and no pet projects."

Gruel told the Free Beacon he owes thousands of dollars in sales tax for a restaurant he owns that closed permanently during the pandemic. He said the state has provided his shuttered business "no breaks, no assistance."

Non-pandemic sections of the budget propose investing $353 million in workforce-development programs, such as apprenticeships, and bolstering collaborations between California universities and local businesses. The plan would also give $500 million in grants to local governments for developing 7,500 new government-housing units.

Newsom has prioritized the electric-car industry even as businesses have been forced to shutter and millions have lost their jobs because of pandemic-related shutdowns. In September, the governor signed an executive order to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.