The absence of federal stimulus checks has shifted the spotlight to states as over 21 of them have moved in with inflation relief payments to their residents. Many have already paid and some like New Mexico are even contemplating the fourth round of state checks. October promises to be a big month as the biggest of them all, the California stimulus checks will be issued starting the first week of October.
California has already given two rounds of stimulus payments following the pandemic. The Golden State stimulus checks I and II gave residents up to $1,200 and $1,100 in the two rounds. The third stimulus check will give up to $1,050 to around 23 M eligible residents of the Golden State.
The Middle-Class Tax Refund is being given to residents even as gasoline prices in California remain the highest among states in America, though it has slid down considerably from the June 2022 peak of over $5 per gallon. It now stands at the $3.5 mark. But the national inflation rate remains at an alarming 8.3%, down from 9.1% in June and 8.5% in July.
Governor Gavin Newsom had earlier contemplated a gas card of $400 for each vehicle registered in California, with families eligible for a maximum of two cards each. But he has considerably increased the stimulus check amount. The California budget for 2022-23 included a direct payment of up to $350 per individual. The payments are expected to cover around 60% of the residents of the state.
But in June Governor Newsom went for a direct stimulus check and the payments are expected to roll out starting October 7. This was confirmed by the tax board of California (FTB).
The payments issued by the FTB will come in through debit cards and mostly through direct deposits to the accounts of filers. Residents who have received the two earlier rounds of the Golden State payments through direct bank transfers can expect the same this time, with most deposits expected between October 28 and November 14.
Debit cards have been proposed instead of stimulus checks for the rest of the payments. Again, residents who received their previous rounds through debit cards can expect the same. The debit cards will be delayed as they will be physically sent through the US Postal Service.
The Middle-Class refund through debit cards will be sent between October 25 and December 10. The debit card payments are expected to be completed by January 15, 2023. The tax board has said that it expects 90% of payments to be issued by October.
A detailed schedule of payments will be uploaded on the website in the first week of October for the recipients of debit cards. The website of the Middle-Class Tax Refund will also provide updates on when the payments are expected.
Eligibility For The California Stimulus Check
Residents who have already filed their state income tax returns for 2020 by October 15, 2021, will qualify for the stimulus check. They must also have been residents of the state for a minimum of 6 months in the tax year, which is 2020 in this case.
They must also not be dependent on the returns of another tax filer for the tax year 2020. The potential beneficiary must also be a resident of the state on the date the payment is finally issued.
The lowest income slab has been set at $75,000 for individuals as in the previous two rounds. For joint filers, it is $150,000. Individual filers earning below this figure will get a $350 stimulus check, while married couples filing jointly can expect $700. Another $350 will be given for a maximum of one dependent. So joint filers in this income limit can expect to earn a maximum of $1,050.
For individuals earning $250,000 or below and couples earning up to $500,000, the stimulus check is $200 and $400 respectively, plus another $200 for one dependent.
Other Reliefs That Are Part Of The Relief Package
Other than the middle-class stimulus payment, the $17B relief package included as part of the main budget has stipulated a temporary suspension of the diesel tax levied by the state and also made provisions for support to residents for utility and rent costs.
While no provision has been made to suspend the gas tax in the state under the budget package, the state tax on diesel will remain suspended for twelve months starting in October. Gas tax remains the highest in America at 68 cents to the gallon.
There are an additional handful of measures as a relief from the impact of inflation on residents’ budgets. A $1.95 B rental assistance has been set aside for assisting tenants who have requested relief before March. Another $1.4 B has been set aside to cover the past dues of low-income residents.
$14.8 B has been earmarked for transportation and infrastructure. Another $200 M will be spent on reproductive care services. There is also universal health coverage for residents between the age of twenty-six and forty-nine and reporting low income. Even immigrants can now claim this coverage, the first among states to allow it.
Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Promises $350 Stimulus Check If Elected
Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the coming election in Ohio, Nan Whaley has proposed a rebate of $350 to every adult in the state who qualifies for the stimulus check. But for that, she has to win the election slated for November. Her proposed inflation budget would entail an expense of $2.68 that the state will receive as part of the next round of funds from the federal administration under the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden in March 2021.
Around 7.4 M residents comprising 89% of the adult population of the state can benefit if she comes to power. Whaley has said that even as corporate profits hit record highs, the working class continues to struggle to cope with a continuous rise in overall costs, including groceries, gasoline, utility bills, and home rent.
She pointed out that the pay of CEOs grew by 31% last year while low and moderate-income residents continue to suffer. The Republican administration under Governor DeWine has no proposal to give any form of stimulus checks to residents.