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Friday, June 9, 2023

A Look Over At The State Stimulus Checks For August: Inflation Relief Measures By States Stoke Fear Of Further Increase In Prices

The end of 2021 also marked the end of stimulus checks and other linked support measures undertaken by the federal government immediately after the US economy ground to a halt due to the pandemic. The administration declared a series of stimulus checks that started immediately after the lockdown was declared after the detection of the virus on American soil.

The successive stimulus check measures covered the whole period of the pandemic and went much beyond the end of the pandemic. The economy froze immediately after the pandemic was declared, and people were in desperate need of financial support as millions lost their source of income.

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Stimulus Check Had Benefits Other Than Economic

People desperately struggled to provide for even basic needs for their families as a large section of the population lived paycheck-to-paycheck. The successive stimulus check proved a great relief and allowed people to adhere to the pandemic restriction and not risk their lives in search of jobs.

The stimulus check also had a benefit other than economic. People could afford to stay home instead of venturing outside their homes in search of a job. It helped the federal administration save millions in medical expenses as the pandemic could be controlled to a great extent from spreading rapidly.

A virus as contagious as COVID-19 could be controlled in the initial months before the vaccine was introduced, thanks largely due to the success of the administration in isolating the population. The federal and state administration managed to confine them to their homes during the peak period of the pandemic and even after. 

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There was also the issue of crime during the pandemic as there was the ever-present danger that the country could descend into chaos if people were desperate for income. Even normal people would be forced to take to crime if they were desperate for money and there were no fresh jobs on the streets.

There was an initial spurt in violent crimes, particularly aggravated assaults, shooting incidents, and murder. But the introduction of stimulus checks that started within a month of the lockdown caused by the pandemic led to a cooling down of vicious crimes.

Stimulus Check For States Go Out In August

With federal initiative for additional stimulus checks at a low, more states are stepping in with multiple measures. Inflation relief payments have started going out starting as early as May 2021.

Around 20 states are in various stages of sending out inflation relief payments to residents and some have already passed the bill and have begun sending out stimulus checks.

States have done a far better job of sending out additional funds to Americans than the federal government in 2022 and more states seem likely to step in to help out their residents.

Maine and New Mexico were among the first states to begin sending out stimulus checks though the states have taken a radically different approach to support residents during high inflation.

Maine is sending out an $850 stimulus check to eligible taxpayers who have filed their returns by May 2022. People who file later will receive their payments on a rolling basis across the year, though the last date for filing is October this year. Taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or below will qualify as individuals whose joint filers earning $200,000 or less will receive a stimulus check of $1,700. Heads of households earning less than $150,000 will receive the same amount.

The New Mexico stimulus check was approved by the state legislature with residents getting the total amount in three installments spread between June and August 2022. Residents received a $250 stimulus check for July 2022 if their earnings were below $75,000, while joint filers earning $150,000 receive double that.

Further, all residents who have filed their income tax returns for 2021 will receive $500 for single and double that for joint filers, surviving spouses, and heads of households. The payments have been divided into equal amounts that are payable in June and August 2022.

Georgia is giving rebates to taxpayers who have filed both their 2020 and 2021 income tax returns. Single filers received $250, married couples filing jointly double that, and household heads $375.

California and Florida are among the latest states to declare stimulus checks on their own even though the size and scope of the payments are vastly different for the two states with different political allegiance.

While Republican Florida is sending out stimulus check payments to only 60,000 state residents, California will be sending out payments to 23 million residents, almost 60% of the population.

The decision by Governor Ron DeSantis of California was a surprise as he has been a strong opponent of the stimulus checks. He had termed the third stimulus check a mistake and was planning to use it as his plank as he plans to contest the 2024 presidential election. But instead, he has used funds from the American Rescue Plan Act sent by the Democratic government to states.

California is dipping into its massive budget surplus of $97 billion and will send out stimulus s checks up to $1,050 to families with joint income of $150,000 or below. Families earning even $250,000 jointly will be eligible for a stimulus check though the amount will be less at $200 per filer plus another $200 for up to one dependent.

Delaware is one of the earliest entrants to the inflation relief measures and will be sending out $300 as rebate relief. Georgia is another state that initiated inflation relief measures early in 2022. It will be sending out a stimulus check of $250 for individuals, double that for joint filers, and $375 for household heads.

Hawaii was also among the earliest states to declare stimulus checks for its residents and has rolled out $300 for taxpayers earning $100,000 or less. People earning above that amount will get a stimulus check of $100.

Residents of Idaho will start receiving inflation stimulus checks of $75 or 12% of the amount they paid in state taxes for 2020, whichever is greater.

New Jersey has begun mailing out $500 tax rebates. The amount of rebate permitted is limited to the amount of tax that gets paid after credits and is up to a maximum of $500.

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