The height of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the federal administration release trillions of dollars into the economy, a large part of it in the form of direct stimulus checks to low and moderate-income families. This was accompanied by other measures that propped up businesses, institutions, states, and other local bodies.
These payments proved to be vital for many families and gave them the indulgence of purchasing necessities during the worst economic times of their lives. But the federal stimulus checks have dried up after three rounds and the child tax credit stimulus checks.
But stagnating low wages and record inflation figures have left families reeling to control their finances. With Washington struck in gridlock over expenses and practically any other decisions due to Republican intransigence, it has been left to the states to come up with measures to help their residents with inflation relief measures.
States Step In With Stimulus Checks Of Their Own
The tax rebates this time are subject to a certain threshold in individual and family income. Inflation rose to a 40-year high this May and has forced President Biden and the federal authorities including the Federal Reserve to take measures to offset the effect of rising costs. But in the absence of a stimulus check, Americans are finding it particularly hard to pay for gas, food, travel, utilities, rent, and other essential expenses.
As of now, the number of states that have announced stimulus checks on their own is not many, in fact, fewer than a dozen. And not all the proposals have made it through the state legislatures. But at least 11 states have stimulus checks in various forms for their residents which they should be getting within this year.
States Already Off The Mark With Stimulus Checks For Their Residents
At least two states have already off the mark with their brand of stimulus checks, Maine and New Mexico. Other states are close to initiating legislative measures.
The states have been helped by a booming economy in the last two quarters of 2021. And the healthy surplus has been supplanted by funds from the federal administration under the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden in March 2021. The third stimulus check, or the Economic Impact Payments, is part of this act.
New Mexico And Maine First Off The Mark
Maine was among the first states to legislate on the third stimulus check in an attempt to help people deal with the high cost of inflation, Governor Janet Mills announced an $850 stimulus check to qualified tax-paying residents.
By the end of June, the Maine administration has sent stimulus checks to more than 50% of its eligible residents, and the rest are going out every week. People who have filed their state income tax returns for 2021 by May 31 this year will get the stimulus checks earlier.
The state has set October 31, 2022, as the last date for filing returns for 2021. People who have filed their returns after May will receive their stimulus checks on a rolling basis.
Director of policy at the Maine Center for Economic Policy Sarah Austin said that with the increase in food, housing, and energy expenses, the state stimulus check will go a long way to cover low-income households that are struggling to meet expenses.
Maine has also offered the highest payout for its residents among the states that have declared payout for their residents. This direct payment done on an emergency legislation basis received bipartisan support and is accompanied by other financial relief measures under the supplemental budget passed by the state legislature.
New Mexico Receive More Payments This Week
New Mexico residents started receiving their newest round of tax rebate stimulus checks in an effort by the state administration to offset the impact of high prices of gas and other essential commodities.
Governor Michelle L. Grisham and the state legislature approved several rounds of economic relief and rebates this year. New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Dept. has revealed that the state residents receive stimulus checks both in May and June. But the new round will be different from those that were paid earlier.
The tax department of the state has revealed that married couples who file joint returns, household heads, and surviving spouses are eligible for a $500 stimulus check in July if their income is below $150,000.
Individual filers and a married couple filing separately are eligible for a $250 payment if their income is $75,000 and below. Residents who have filed their 2021 income tax returns will receive an automatic payment if they meet other stipulated criteria.
Further, the state legislature approved $20M as payments to those who do not file income tax returns. Families are eligible for a $1,000 relief payment while individual tax filers without dependents will get half that amount.
Fresh Stimulus Check Proposed By The Golden State
Millions of residents of the Golden State may get new stimulus checks of up to $1,050 as per fresh announcements by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week.
Under the inflation relief measure worth $17 B an estimated 23M residents will receive payments with a family receiving up to $1,050 if they file jointly and have at least one dependent.
California is currently holding a state budget surplus of $97B. Calling it a middle-class rebate, Gov. Newsom tweeted that the extra money will help residents with food and gas.
Eligibility will depend on the earnings of a family and the number of dependents. Single tax filers earning $75,000 or less will get a $350 stimulus check. Those earning above that figure but below $125,000 will get $250, while those earning between $125,001 and $250,000 will receive a $200 payment.
For joint tax filers earning $150,000 or less, the payment comes to $700. For families earning between $150,001 and $250,000, the check will be worth $500 while it is $400 for filers earning between $250,001 and $500,000.
For joint filers, an additional stimulus check of $350, $250, or $200 will be paid for dependents depending on the family’s income.
Checks will go out through direct bank transfers or debit cards by October. The state has also announced the suspension of the sales tax on diesel for 1 year starting October 1. Money will also be set aside for local transportation infrastructure projects, as well as for utility and rent cost relief programs.