With federal stimulus checks drying up, American states were faced with the dilemma of residents suffering from the burden of high inflation rates that pushed up prices at an alarming rate since the end of 2021. A year and a half after prices began creeping up, the federal administration has been unable to rein in the record inflation rate.
From a steady sub 2% in the first quarter of 2021, the rise of the inflation rate coincided with the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act included the third stimulus check. The Economic Impact Payment was the last federal stimulus check post the pandemic.
Other benefits such as the extended weekly unemployment stimulus checks continued to form for a few more months till the first week of September.
The final federal direct support measure was the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus check which continued for the whole of the last two quarters. The first phase ended in December and constituted 50% of the total payments.
2021 saw the end of regular federal support even as the inflation rate climbed up at an alarming rate in the first quarter of 2022. It continued to inch upward through the first six months of the year and ended with 9.1% in June, the highest since November 1981.
American states realized that they could not expect further stimulus checks with the federal administration in gridlock due to the stiff opposition from the Republicans.
Two things were in favor of the state administrations. They had the ARPA funds given to various states, local, and tribal bodies to fall back on. And secondly, the economy experienced a boom in the last two quarters of 2021 and many states were flush with funds.
Close to half the states have proposed sending out state inflation relief payments in various forms. California was the first off the mark when it came to state stimulus checks with the Golden State I and II in 2021. It gave up to $1,200 in each of the rounds. But those payments were not linked to inflation.
The first of the inflation-linked payments came from Maine and New Mexico in the second quarter of 2022. Maine gave a single stimulus check worth $850 to qualifying individuals and double that to married couples who filed jointly.
Around 858,000 Mainers benefitted from the stimulus check which returned a total of $729.3 million to taxpayers in the state. individuals and couples filing jointly who file their 2021 state returns before October 31, 2022.
Residents thus still have this month by which they can file their returns and stake their claims. Those residents who are eligible also do not have a Federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) of less than $100,000 for individual filers, $150,000 for heads of household, and $200,000 for married people.
New Mexico First Among States To Give Three Rounds Of Inflation Relief
Nearly a million families in New Mexico benefitted from up to $1,500 in rebates in the first two rounds of inflation relief stimulus checks. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham kept up to her promise that the administration would be returning hundreds of millions of dollars in relief to affected families.
She kept good her promise to protect their paycheck and help them face up to the abnormal rise in prices of groceries, gasoline, and other household products and services.
Even as other states contemplated a move, Governor Grisham and her legislation were among the first to approve multiple rounds of rebates for taxpayers in New Mexico. Even residents who are not required to file their income tax returns are eligible for the support measure.
The New Mexico relief includes a rebate on income tax for married couples who file joint returns, surviving spouses, and heads of household with income under $150,000. Single filers and married individuals living separately will get their stimulus check if their income is below $75,000. This payment went out in July 2022.
The second round was split into two rounds, with the first going out in May and the second in July 2022. This round contained a $500 stimulus check for individual taxpayers and a $1,000 for people filing jointly, heads of households, and surviving spouses. The rebates went out automatically to filers who had filed a PIT return for 2021. No extra application was required. Beneficiaries received equal payments of either $250 or $500 in June 2022 and August 2022.
New Mexico is issuing another round of stimulus payments of $400 to qualified low-income households.
California Stimulus Checks Being Sent To Millions Of Residents Hit By Rising Gas Prices
With gas prices in California the highest in the US, Gov. Gavin Newsom initially mulled sending a gas debit card worth $400, with a maximum of two cards per family in California. But prompted by Democratic legislators, the government has dipped into its vast budget surplus of $97 billion and will be sending up to $1,050 to around 23 million residents of the Golden State.
The highest Middle-Class Cash Back rebate will go out to joint filers earning $150,000 or less and individuals earning up to $75,000. They will receive $350 for each filer plus another $350 if they declare any dependent.
For individual filers earning between $75,001 and $125,000, the cash-back amount comes to $250 plus the same amount for one dependent. For joint holders earning between $150,001 and $250,000, the amount comes to $250 each plus another $250 for any dependent.
The highest layer is between $125,001 and $250,000 for individuals and between $250,001 and $500,000 for joint filers. The cashback amount comes to $200 for each filer plus another $200 for any dependent.
Starting October 7, California began sending out around $9.5 billion to 23 million of its residents, and it is the biggest inflation relief effort among states.
Other states to send relief payments include Georgia, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, Idaho, Hawaii, and South Carolina. With 21 states in various stages of pushing for more money in the US economy, some economists have expressed concern and said that handing out more cans will only make matters worse by contributing to rising prices.