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Monday, September 26, 2022

States Move In With Inflation Stimulus Checks: Despite Record Inflation Federal Administration Declines To Act

American states have moved in with stimulus checks to help their residents face the high inflation that has made life worse for them than it was during the pandemic. With little federal relief in sight, it is up to the states to support their residents from a repeat of the prospect of starvation, and worse, that they faced during the initial weeks of the pandemic.

While federal lawmakers have proposed multiple plans to help America cope with the pressure of inflation, especially high gas and food prices, none have done anything about it.

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Administrative initiatives at the federal level remain gridlocked due to Republican obduracy.

All federal action is in for a tough road through Congress which is hopelessly divided straight down the middle, especially in the Senate. But it does not mean that you are helpless, especially if you live in any one of several states that have moved in with legislative measures.

All federal action is gridlocked as the Republicans have refused to cooperate with President Biden on all issues. American involvement in the war in Europe has worsened matters on the domestic front, especially the decision to blockade Russia.

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It has not made much difference for Putin, as most European nations including Germany continue to be the biggest buyers of Russian oil. Other nations that buy huge quantities of oil including China and India have continued their purchase from Russia.

States Stimulus Checks Pick Up Pace As State Take Legislative Steps

Over a dozen states have moved ahead with plans to send one-time payments to residents through the next few months. They have not waited for the federal administration to make any move. And a couple of states have already sent stimulus checks to their residents.

But the stimulus checks are inadequate in amount and are also limited to around a dozen states at the most. Even that is subject to their being passed by the state legislature.

Unlike previous pandemic relief measures, the payments will for obvious reasons be much more targeted and have considerably smaller amounts. The government does not want to further add to the inflation by pumping in too big an amount. They have also targeted the most deserving of the low and moderate-income groups.

Many people who did not deserve the stimulus checks, people whose income was not disrupted by the pandemic, received federal stimulus checks, while numerous deserving individuals and families did not receive one as their records did not exist with the authorities. These mostly comprise people who do not file tax returns.

Proposals For Stimulus Checks And Gas Rebates Being Considered By Washington

Most states are considering multiple ways to support their citizens. While direct stimulus checks sent either through bank transfers or paper checks remain the obvious options, various other measures are being considered to provide relief to citizens.

Such measures include fuel rebates, gas tax holidays, gas and transit cards, and tax rebates. Democratic legislators had considered sending qualifying filers and their dependents $100 a month as part of the Gas Rebate Act, 2022 back in March. But the bill remained stalled in the committee stage and appears destined to end there.

President Biden had also called for the 3-month gas tax waiver to remove the 18-cent surcharge that the federal government levies on one gallon of gas. It is a faint indication that the federal administration is still looking at ways to help out Americans grappling with sky-high prices at the gas pump.

But it is doubtful at this stage that a holiday on gas tax would move through Congress. The states are also balking at the President’s request to pause their taxes for now.

Even state Democratic leaders see little merit in giving up a significant source of revenue for nominal savings at the pump.

Various Forms Of Stimulus Check Being Considered By The States

Although state administrations are unlikely to call for the suspension of the gas tax, some of them are taking other measures to provide price relief and the federal administration. Here are various measures undertaken by the states.

The latest news to come out on state stimulus checks is from California. The Golden State has already given two rounds of stimulus payments to its residents, the Golden State Stimulus Check I and II.

It had earlier proposed a gas and transit card for its residents worth up to $800 per family. But it appears Governor Gavin Newsom has changed plans and approved a direct stimulus check of $1,050 max to residents.

These relief payments are expected to offset the increase in the price of gas and other essential items. California has the highest gas rate in the country and the present cost is around $6.30. Lawmakers will facilitate the payments from the huge budget surplus of $97B currently with the state administration.

Maine First State To Legislate On State Stimulus Check

Maine was among the first states to legislate over sending money to counter the high rate of inflation that has derailed life for most low and moderate-income residents.

The state has already begun issuing an $850 stimulus check to qualified tax filers. By the last week of June, over half of the eligible residents have received their stimulus checks.

The administration has said that with the cost of food, housing, and gas increasing daily, the inflation relief payments will be a major help for low and moderate-income homes struggling to cover the high cost of living.

Though nine other states have moved ahead with stimulus relief plans, Maine has given the highest payout for its residents. This emergency legislation is accompanied by a handful of other fiscal relief measures under the supplemental budget presented by the state for 2022-23. Around 858,000 residents are expected to benefit from the state stimulus check.

New Mexicans are also eligible for relief payments or rebates under two separate new laws. Residents who have filed their state income tax returns for 2021 will get a rebate of $250 in June, July, and August.

The July stimulus check is available to singles who meet the criteria for payments. Qualified families will receive double that amount. People who filed early will receive the stimulus checks earlier.

While May 31 was the deadline to appeal for the stimulus checks, filers will automatically receive the stimulus check and will not have to apply separately.

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