Residents have finally started to get some financial relief in the form of state stimulus checks even as federal support dries up. The amount of the stimulus checks and the mode of the relief payments vary with some states opting for tax rebates, gas, and transit cards, along with the regular stimulus checks through direct transfers and paper checks.
The stimulus checks could go up to $1,700 as families in Maine are set to receive the most generous support thanks to Governor Janet Mill’s initiative. Starting the first week of June, the administration started sending $850 relief checks to individual residents with a married couple filing jointly set to gain $1,700.
Maine Has Been The Most Generous With Their $1,750 Stimulus Check For Families
The relief initiative is poised to give back an estimated $729.3M out of the surplus enjoyed by the state budget. The stimulus checks have been dubbed the inflation relief payments and had the support of Maine Governor Janet Mills and both Democratic and Republican legislators.
A lot of the state surplus budget will go towards these direct payments and are expected to benefit an estimated 858,000 people. The first round of $850 to $1,700 stimulus checks was sent to 5,000 residents and will be followed by waves of 200,000 stimulus checks every week, Governor Mills announced.
The budget was signed into law by Governor Mills in late April after winning the overwhelming bipartisan support of the state legislature.
The distribution of the checks came up against an unexpected delay due to a shortage of envelopes. But the issue was finally resolved by Governor Mills’ office as officials managed to secure them. The administration expects the majority of people who have filed their income tax returns for 2021 to receive their checks by the middle of July.
The state treasurer of Maine, Henry Beck, said that the residents of the state are facing acute economic hardship caused by the high inflation and the corresponding increase in prices of gas, essential items, and utility costs. He said that Governor Mills, with the support of the state legislature, had delivered one of the most generous relief measures in the US to help them out during these difficult times.
The stimulus check will return $729.3M from the state coffers which have seen a generous collection in the last two quarters of 2021. The final amount was agreed upon after a series of revisions in recent months as increased tax revenues and generous federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act gave a state a huge buffer.
Gov. Mills said that while there was little that they could do about inflation, they could at least ensure that Maine residents get immediate relief from the high inflation that has gripped the nation.
In addition to the inflation stimulus checks for residents of the state, the budget also boosts income tax relief for retired pensioners and provides tax relief on the property for senior residents, low-income tenants, and homeowners. There are also relief measures for childcare workers.
The program also includes a $20M fund to cover 2 years of community college education for eligible students graduating from high schools between 2020 and 2023. $60M has also been set aside to address contamination from chemicals such as PFAS.
Full-time residents must file their income tax returns to be eligible. Those who haven’t filed their 2021 returns can do so until October 31, 2022, to get their $850 stimulus check. Residents can check the status of the check on the website.
New York is also going all out with a series of measures and has invested funds in ways to keep residents safe, jumpstart the economy, rebuild a tax base, prop up the equity base and allow for greater economic progress in the future.
A one-time stimulus check is already being given to workers with $64M being diverted from federal funds for the purpose. struggling New Yorkers to cope with rising inflation that has affected the rates of gas and groceries.
The administration has issued one-of payments to all families who come under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Families will also receive $140 per eligible child to assist with expenses that include allocating funds for around 150,000 children in 128,500 homes.
A one-time payment of $730 was also given to cover the cost of food for households who are enrolled under SNAP or for Public Assistance and have a child aged 17 and under and an adult older than 55.
Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has proposed a direct payment of $2,000 using funds received by the state under the American Rescue Plan Act. Around $1.7B will be needed to help residents recover fully from the economic downturn following the pandemic and lead the way to a successful future, said Gov. Wolf.
Among his proposals is a $500M fund for the PA Opportunity Program that would send a payment of $2,000 to households with income below $80,000.
The state is sitting on $2B received from the federal government under the ARPA scheme. It must be committed by December 31, 2024, or it will be returned.
Local Bodies Also Have Started Direct Payments To Residents
Johnson County, Iowa, will send a $1,400 stimulus check to low and moderate-income residents. The submission of an application does not guarantee a relief payment and the eligibility requirements of the program include residency and income proof. Johnson County grants coordinator Donna Brooks said that the program will benefit people who most deserve it. It is one of the most ambitious schemes under local jurisdiction.
To deal with the high inflation, the Oklahoma budget includes a one-off payment of $75 to individuals and $150 to married couples who file jointly. The budget agreement reflects shared priorities in law enforcement, health care, and education. The Inflation Relief Stimulus Program totals $181M.
The funds include $700M funds for a new economic development initiative package. $250M more will go to rural areas to help in retrofitting industrial parks. The budget has also eliminated sales tax on vehicles. Another $32.5M has been allocated to eliminate the waiting list for the disabled at the Dept. of Human Services.