California’s Assembly Plan Would Allow Food and Gas Debit Cards to Those Who Do Not Qualify

Inflation relief debit cards to be sent out to Californians starting today

Californians who use food or gas debit cards will be able to use them until the week of the June 7 primary election, when paper ballots are returned.

The program is part of a statewide initiative backed by the State Assembly’s Democratic majority to ease statewide fiscal woes, including in the face of massive state budget shortfalls projected for the next two years.

“We understand there is frustration with the current system, and we’re trying to address that as much as we possibly can,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, D-San Bernardino, who was instrumental in developing the initiative.

The proposal would authorize the issuing of $1 to $25 debit cards for food, gas, or other purchases.

Those in low-income areas who qualify for free or reduced lunches, who earn state minimum wages, and who do not have bank accounts or credit cards would be eligible for this program, officials said.

The Assembly plan also would authorize the issuance of a $1 and $2 cash debit cards for basic retail purchases that include food, gas and other items.

It also would direct the California Department of Public Works to come up with a process for applying for permits to issue food and gas cards to those making a specified amount of purchases per month and who do not qualify for the debit program.

Donnelly said legislators also are examining issuing a $10 debit card to grocery or drug stores that deal in food and gas.

“This is the beginning of a process,” he said. “We are trying to get people to have a little more than their $1.50 [cash] card. To get up to $2 is still too high. Let’s go to $1, and let’s go a little lower.”

“This is a step on the road to fixing our broken system,” Assemblywoman Nora Campanella, D-San Diego, said at Thursday

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