Swimming in cash from an unexpected budget surplus and federal stimulus money, California is planning rent forgiveness on a scale never before seen in the US. A $5.2 billion program is in final negotiations in the state legislature that would pay 100 percent of unpaid rent that lower-income Californians incurred during the pandemic and would be financed entirely by federal money. The state is also proposing to set aside $2 billion to pay for unpaid water and electricity bills.

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