The absence of any form of federal stimulus check has turned the focus on state support to residents. Inflation relief payments become indispensable in the light of record inflation rates that have led to prices continuing to soar for over a year. the abrupt rise in inflation rates coincided with the end of federal support in the form of the Child Tax Credit stimulus check.
For millions of Americans in the low and moderate-income category, the successive stimulus checks helped stave off poverty, ensured that they did not default on their payments, helped pay their rent, and also helped them save a part of the money, a first for millions who have always lived paycheck-to-paycheck.
The sudden withdrawal of all federal support at the end of 2021 with the end of the Child Tax Credit threw millions of Americans back into the desperation of the period immediately after the pandemic forced a shutdown across America. For the first time in decades, inflation crossed the 8% mark. It reached a peak of 9.1% in June this year and continues to remain above the 8.5% mark.
Federal Funds Enable States To Send Inflation Relief Stimulus Checks
The price of everything from gasoline to groceries touched record levels. The partisan political stance shown by the Republicans ensured that further stimulus support would remain suspended at least till the midterms.
But federal funds sanctioned under the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden continue to fund much of the inflation relief given by the states. Barring a few states such as Colorado and California, which have reported a huge budget surplus, they have relied on the ARPA funds to fund various schemes to support residents. They include Ron DeSantis governed Florida. The 2024 presidential hopeful and one of the leading Republican leaders have relied on the Rescue Plan funds to send stimulus checks to citizens. This is despite DeSantis being vehemently opposed to the stimulus checks.
California has announced the biggest inflation relief scheme among all states. Around 23 M residents of California will receive the Middle-Class Cash Back stimulus checks. The amount will be $1,050 maximum for low-income filers in the state.
Back in June, Governor Gavin Newsom had signed a $308 B budget which included a $17 B relief package. The relief package would pay for the suspension of diesel sales tax for a year and also provide aid to help residents pay utility bills and rent. The relief stimulus check will go out as tax refunds. A total of $9.5 B has been set aside for this payment.
This support from the state administration came after California experienced the sharpest rise in the price of fuel as it crossed the $6 mark per gallon at one stage before settling down to below $4.
Earlier Gov. Newsom had contemplated sending a $400 gas debit card to owners of vehicles registered in the state, with each family entitled to a maximum of two cards. But Democratic Party lawmakers pushed for a better plant to provide more to people affected by the inflation.
The Governor’s office reached an agreement with the legislature on the budget to be allowed. Immediate action was taken to give back millions to residents who continue to grapple with rising costs amid global inflation that comes after the greatest challenge that the world has faced since the Second World War.
While the payments will undeniably smoothen the effect of the high costs of groceries and gasoline, it has also raised questions about the effect it will have on the economy reeling under severe inflation.
Conservative economists and Republican politicians have laid the blame squarely on the third stimulus check. they have ignored the fact that the stimulus checks, especially the third payment, the economic impact payment, enabled the administration to ward off a severe recession, one as bad as the one the nation went through in 2009.
The inflation rate began to creep up at the same time the ARPA was signed and has continued its relentless rise, crossing the 8% mark at the turn of the year and has stayed consistently high. The annual inflation rate for America remains at 8.3% for the 12 months ended August 2022 after rising 8.5% the previous month and touching 9.1% in June, the highest since November 1981.
The Budget Allocation And The Beneficiaries Of The California Stimulus Check
The total money is being sent as tax refunds and is being paid from the $97 B surplus state budget. The inflation relief payments are being sent based on tax filing status, income, and the size of the households. Low and moderate-income households stand to gain the most from the inflation relief rebates.
Individual filers with earnings below $75,000 and married couples filing jointly and with an AGI below $150,000 will receive $350 each. An equivalent amount will go to one dependent, even though there may be more than one.
Thus a couple with combined earnings of $150,000 or less and with one or more dependents will get a stimulus check of $1,050.
Even Californians in a higher income bracket stand to gain with joint filers earning up to $500,000 will get a stimulus check, though the check amount is $200 per filer. The total thus comes to $600 maximum for a family with dependents.
Individual filers earning above $250,000 and joint filers earning above $500,000 are not eligible for any payments. The stimulus checks will go out either through debit cards or mostly through direct transfers to accounts.
The Colorado cashback is also due this month and is expected to continue into October. Coloradans will get a $750 cash check for individual filers, while joint filers will get double that amount. You must have filed your state tax returns or should have applied for property tax, heat credit rebate, or rent (PTC Rebate). Extended filers who have filed for a deadline of October 17, 2022, will receive their refund by the end of January next year.
The payment is being given under the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The act limits the amount of revenue that the state can retain and spends every year. any revenue collected above this limit has to be refunded to the state taxpayers.