Despite strong Republican opposition to any form of stimulus checks, states are moving ahead with inflation relief payments for residents. And some states are increasing the original amount to match the multi-decade record increase in prices.
The successive stimulus check, or economic impact payments, have served their purpose of having the back of Americans when they needed it the most. The first two rounds of stimulus payments went through smoothly with bipartisan support. But once President Biden assumed office, he had to fight tooth and nail to get every penny sanctioned in the face of vehement Republican opposition.
Republicans Continue To Favor Tax-Waivers For Billionaires
The GOP has no qualms in handing out billions in tax waivers to billionaires but has strongly opposed any form of support to low and moderate-income groups. Recently they have gone all guns blazing in their opposition to President Biden’s plans to partially waive student loans, saying it would not be fair to past students who have repaid.
Their support for the billionaires is understandable as they are rapidly taking over Capitol Hill with political donations, and the Republican Party is an overwhelmingly major beneficiary of this generosity.
In the present election cycle, close to half of the funding (47%) raised by the two major Republican congressional super PACs was funded by 27 billionaires. That comes to $89.4M directly from the billionaires club.
Most of the billionaires made their fortunes on Wall Street, around 86% of them. It is understandable as they have vastly benefitted from corporate handouts and tax cuts initiated by the Republicans.
Among the Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have been the biggest beneficiaries and have understandably stood in the way of President Joe Biden’s agenda last year. with the Senate split down the middle, they have used their crucial votes to push forward the Republican agenda and have stopped plans for a 4th stimulus check and extension of the Child Tax Credit.
Pennsylvania Governor Pushes For The $2,000 Stimulus Check For Residents
Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf continues to push for the stalled proposal to get a $2,000 stimulus check to most residents. The Republicans contend that it will worsen the high inflation.
Democratic state congressmen Rep. David Dellosso and Senator Christine Tartaglione are moving ahead by filing bills to back the PA Opportunity Program that will feature the state stimulus check of $2,000.
The $1.7B proposal was first made by Gov.Wolf. he said that it would mean much to residents of the state who continue to suffer from the effects of the pandemic and the subsequent inflation.
The Democrats argue that families are desperately in need of the funds due to the successive financial woes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and then the economic woes that continue to assail them.
Tartaglione said that friends and neighbors continue to struggle to rebuild their savings and stabilize budgets that have gone haywire. She said that the pandemic has forced workers to make changes in their career goals and consider jobs to balance their budgets.
But Republicans have been adamant saying that inflation will worsen if more money is pumped directly into the economy.
The renewed proposal is different in one respect as while the previous proposal was for using federal funds under the ARPA, the present proposal is to use funds from the state surplus budget.
Individuals will a household income of up to $80,000 can apply for the one-off stimulus check of up to $2,000 which is expected to be given in the form of a tax exemption.
Pennsylvania Lawmakers Agree On Spending Federal Funds Under ARPA
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have agreed on plans to use around $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds on conservation, child care programs, and housing. The agreement was arrived at after the state agreed to a $45.2 billion budget, one week following the deadline.
Federal funds will not be used for any form of direct stimulus checks to residents, which will come out of state funds. Instead, the Democratic administration has identified around 20 programs that will receive funds from the stimulus support.
The biggest slice of the amount, around $640 million, will go towards conservation efforts to ensure clean water for residents of Pennsylvania. Part of it will also go towards the repair and rehabilitation of the state parks, and maintenance of sewer and water systems.
Of the funds around $320 million will be transferred to present state programs for water and sewer projects. Funds have also been authorized for repairing unsafe dams and controlling floods.
Lawmakers have also directed $375 million to help low and middle-income homeowners repair their homes and also to strengthen the system of affordable housing in the state.
The stimulus money will also go towards a temporary expansion of an existing program to help elderly and disabled people. Grants have also been planned for childcare providers to pay staff who directly supervise children. Funds have also been allocated for nursing and law enforcement, mental health, and various other miscellaneous spendings. They include funds for biotech research, public libraries, pandemic relief to non-public schools, and student loan relief programs for nurses.
Residents of Alaska will also benefit from stimulus checks from the state government which could reach $$3,200. The payments are in the form of annual dividends, also known as the oil-wealth checks paid out regularly by the state.
The payments were approved by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and eligible residents will start getting the funds by September.
Initially, a $5,500 stimulus check was proposed by the Senate under the oil-wealth check scheme. After further negotiations, the amount was lowered to $3,200. But it is still the 2nd largest in the history of the state even after inflation adjustments.
This year’s stimulus check is a combination of two payments. One is the dividend amount of $2,550 while the energy relief check of $650 makes up the rest of the amount.
Eligible residents will receive the oil-wealth stimulus checks by September 20 through bank account transfers. Residents who have been sent paper checks will have to wait at least a month for their payments. Around 78,000 applications are under process to determine the eligibility of the applicants.