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Thursday, October 6, 2022

States, Cities, And Local Bodies Present Source Of Stimulus Check: Are Relief Payments Available In Your State?

Even as federal stimulus checks dry up, states have upped the ante in the war against the pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. They have announced a slew of measures aimed at transferring relief for citizens managing the multiple burdens of the fallout of the pandemic, followed by the economic fallout as inflation, higher prices of gas and essential items, and rising rates of interest hit hard in the first quarter of 2022.

But the present round of tax rebates, stimulus checks, and other forms of relief payments are arriving in multiple ways than the previous federal stimulus checks, gas and transit cards, tax credits, and other forms of economic aid. Whether you get a stimulus check has much to do with which part of the country you live in.

States Give Out Stimulus Check Supported By ARPA Funds

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Many states, cities, and local bodies are flush with a stockpile of federal funds to employ through 2026. Most states have earned a lot from taxes in 2021 as the economy recovered briefly from a booming third and fourth quarter. They have sanctioned or are making allowance for new measures that include direct aid, tax rebates, and even guaranteed stimulus checks to their residents.

States are passing on some tax surpluses to residents even as Washington has lost its appetite for further stimulus checks. There remains a handful of smaller relief payments for taxpayers from the federal administration. But even these are doubtful as they might not stand Republican scrutiny. But states and cities are poised to fill in the void.

Over 30 states are going ahead with legislative measures or are actively considering relief aid for their residents.

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Kansas is one of the states which could eliminate sales tax on various essential items for the rest of the year. Other states have also considered a prolonged suspension of gasoline and grocery taxes.

Maine is among the first states to have moved ahead with legislative measures for 858,000 of its residents. A stimulus check for $850 is in the works and will be dispatched in June. The relief stimulus checks are for single-income tax filers earning below $100,000 and married couples filing jointly who earn below $200,000.

Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, has gone for a model trial program that gives a definite income of over $1,000 a month to families for a couple of years. This will allow families to spend money on essential everyday needs including clothes, food, transportation, housing, medicine, and much more. Baltimore Mayor Scott has said that residents best know their needs than anyone else and are better suited to improve their well-being.

This program comes after the effort by the city to provide prepaid stimulus checks worth $400 to up to 15,000 families to manage the costs of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of New Jersey is following its 2021 tax rebate stimulus check with a fresh program to give $500 relief payments to tax filers who submit their tax ID instead of Social Security numbers.

This measure is aimed at helping migrant workers of the state who were earlier not eligible for the federal stimulus check and beefed up COVID-19 unemployment payments.

In a similar vein, the Excluded Workers Fund of New York will provide relief payments to low-income workers who lost their source of earnings during and after the pandemic and were excluded from collecting federal pandemic relief or could not pick them up for various other reasons.

New Mexico is among the first states to take legislative measures to support its residents. All New Mexicans could be eligible to receive a rebate stimulus check from the state that is worth up to $750 for individuals and $1,500 for married couples who file jointly in 2022.

The state passed two laws this year that provide either relief payments or rebates for residents of New Mexico. Filers who wish to avail themselves of the rebate payments should file their New Mexico income tax for 2021.

Under the rebate program, an eligible single person will receive rebate payments worth $250 in June and August, and depending on their income, could receive the same amount in July also.

For heads of household and eligible families, these rebate stimulus checks will be $500 in June and August and again, based on their income, $500 in July. The dates of receiving the stimulus checks offered by New Mexico will vary based on the date you file your 2021 income tax returns.

The application for relief payments worth $500 for individuals and double that at $1,000 for married couples filing jointly was due at the end of May this year. Successful applications for the stimulus check under this scheme will receive their payment by July 4, 2022. But applicants can still receive the rebate money by filing their New Mexico income tax (NA-PIT I).

As long as any residents do not receive the 2022 relief payment, they may get the rebates by filing their New Mexico income tax returns for 2022 at any time before May 31, 2023.

The Stimulus Check: An Inflation

The successive federal and state aid has helped millions of citizens during the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic. Middle and low-income families have profited from the stimulus check and the enhanced child tax credit relief stimulus checks. 

Universities and colleges too have benefitted from federal funds and have channeled the money to eligible students, a lot of whom are facing staggering debt that will haunt them throughout their lives if they are not supported.

The latest state stimulus checks are funded in part through the federal stimulus check funds under the ARPA signed by President Biden in March 2021 and sent to local and state governments, and tribal administrative bodies. The aid processes have varied drastically due to local priorities that are at variance from national priorities.

Funds must be committed for expenditure by 2024 and spent by 2026, otherwise, they automatically return to the federal administration.

The funds fueled a concern that increasing spending power directly through stimulus checks, tax breaks, and other relief measures has contributed at least in part to the staggering rate of inflation, the highest in 40 years.

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