San Diegans wait for news on federal stimulus package

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SAN DIEGO – A financial boost looks to be on the way for many American families.

The White House is pushing a one-trillion-dollar stimulus package to put money in people’s pockets and toward small businesses as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The looming measure leaves many in San Diego wondering how quickly they can get their hands on it and how much to expect.

“Do you remember the last stimulus in 2008?” said Melissa Arce, a cook at a local eatery. “I think I got $300 or $400.”

Arce is like thousands of others in the food industry scrambling to file for unemployment. She said she hasn’t been able to get through to file her paperwork because the lines are busy. She worries she may not have enough money to last more than a couple months. 

“I filled my fridge, filled my gas tank.”

Congress could pass a law by the end of the week to pump $1 trillion into the economy. In terms of how much people can expect to see, a reporter asked President Trump at a news conference on Wednesday if households could expect to see $1,000 each. President Trump responded by saying it’s unclear but added, “People want to go big.”

“The immediate stimulus is a great idea, keep the economy moving through this rough patch,” said Dan Rocatto, a local financial analyst. “We want to get through the next couple weeks. The fastest way to do that, the quickest way to do that is to put this money in people’s purses so they can spend money.”

Based off White House recommendations, Rocatto says people could see two separate stimulus checks, the first one starting in early April. Racatto says some may get more than others “depending on their income and family size.”

If the bill passes, Rocatto says people will likely see the funds put into the same account in which they filed their 2019 taxes. They will likely have the opportunity to change the information online once the bill gets finalized as well.

For small businesses, he thinks subsidized, zero-interest loans are likely to be a sizable chunk of the bill as well. Meanwhile, the City of San Diego announced Wednesday that $4 million in local funds will be put toward small business assistance and loans to further support the local economy.

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