Long after the effects of the pandemic eased, the disruption it caused to the economy continued to haunt Americans. But multiple factors have kept federal lawmakers from sending any more stimulus checks, even though the US alone officially recorded a million COVID-19 deaths.
Several factors were at play during the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 that prevented Joe Biden from taking any action to directly help American households still struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic and the following recession. And amid this gridlock at Washington, multiple states have stepped in to help out residents. And that was way before the economy went into a tailspin with the high inflation rate in the first quarter of 2022.
The Initial Urgency Shown By Congress To Get Stimulus Checks To Affected Americans No Longer Visible In 2022
With the world being forced into a prolonged lockdown, millions of workers in America will remain confined to their homes, and businesses will shut down, many forever. It sent the unemployment rate rocketing to 14.7% in April 2020.
Congress rapidly pushed through the CARES Act, 2020, sending much-needed relief to households and businesses. The relief payments included the first round of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for adults and $500 for qualifying children below 17.
Simultaneously, Congress passed enhanced unemployment benefits during this initial phase of the pandemic. It kept households afloat even as businesses shut down across sectors.
Those benefits were again extended in December 2020 and for the third time in 2021 when the $1,400 third stimulus check was passed with the signing in March of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This economic impact payment proved immensely beneficial for low and medium-income citizens and helped them stay afloat for around 3 months.
The Child Tax Credit stimulus check for parents was even more generous as it gave parents 50% of $3,600 for children under 17 and $3,000 for those above 17 in six equal installments between July and December 2021. The remaining half is still awaiting release though it was linked to the 2021 tax returns to be filed in 2022.
In this situation, the states have stepped in generously. While most have relied in part on the budget surplus owing to a good economic turnaround in 2021, others have also relied on the funds received from the federal administration under the American Rescue Plan Act signed by Joe Biden.
Stimulus Checks Initiated By State Governments To Compensate For The Federal Silence On Further Support
Even as the stimulus checks kept pouring in, the economy improved in 2021 at a rapid and sharp pace of recovery. But then the inflation rate exploded in early 2022 to stand at the highest in over 40 years as it touched 8.5% in March 2022. Though it has eased marginally since then, it stands at above 8% even in May 2022.
The inflation was partially fuelled by the trillions pumped into the economy. But the situation was worsened by the war in Europe and the rapid scarcity of goods across the US.
And in this grim situation, the states have stepped in with their stimulus checks. Though most are still to pass the approval of state legislators, here is what can be expected by residents of several states.
The Individual States Have Come Up With Various Forms Of Stimulus Checks
California was among the first states off the mark with the Golden State Stimulus Check I and II. The payment went out in 2021 and 2022.
Governor Gavin Newsom plans to step in for the third time to rein in the trouble caused by the spiraling cost of gasoline across the US. He has proposed giving gas cards to residents worth $400 for each car. A family would be entitled to stimulus checks for two cars. The payments are slated to begin as early as July 2022.
Illinois Democrats have proposed a stimulus check that would be in the mailboxes of households by September. Adults can expect $100 while children will get $50. The proposal will also provide $300 in property relief stimulus checks, suspension of taxes for grocery and gas for 6 months, and also a freeze on taxes on supplies to schools for 10 days in August.
Residents of New Mexico who file their returns jointly will be richer by $500 if their adjusted gross income is below $150,000 can expect a one-off $500 rebate against their returns. Single filers, on the other hand, will get half that amount in tax rebate if their AGI is below $75,000.
Other relief measures proposed by the state include a $1,000 stimulus check for full-time nurses, a CTC of $175 for each child, and a partial tax exemption for vets extending for 3 years. There is also a leeway of the tax credit for solar markets that are around 10% of the cost for purchase plus installation.
Lawmakers in Indiana have pushed through legislation sanctioning a $125 stimulus check to around 450,000 low-earning residents.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has, of late, approved a one-time refund worth $250 for individual taxpayers, $500 for married couples filing jointly, and $375 for the head of households.
Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has proposed a $500 stimulus check for low earners who file returns using a tax ID number and not a Social Security number. It is an initiative to bring undocumented immigrants under the fold of the stimulus check payments.
Legislators in Virginia are ironing out the details of a $300 relief payment to tax filers in Virginia. A couple of other bills have been proposed that could eliminate or reduce the grocery tax for state residents and also suspend the 26.2% gas tax for one year.
Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has pushed for a rebate in property tax that ranges from $425 to $970 for low and medium earners. Other proposals include business tax relief, and a temporary suspension on gasoline till things normalize.
The Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, has proposed a $100 tax refund for all filers and their dependents. The finance House Committee of Hawaii also approved a $300 stimulus check for filers with earnings below $100,000 and $100 for residents earning above that figure.
Georgia is one state that will give a direct stimulus check to its residents that will be as much as $1,000. The initial bonus stimulus checks will go out to health workers who stood on the front lines during the peak period of the pandemic.
Full-time employees of the city are set to get a direct stimulus check of $500 and part-timers half that amount.