Americans across the country are set to get another round of free money soon, in the form of everything from tax rebates to stimulus checks, gas cards, and more.
The giveaways and handouts, almost exclusively from state governments, come as US inflation remains stubbornly high — although, that said, the month of April did see an ever-so-slight deceleration in the rate of consumer price growth. The federal government, meanwhile, has stopped sending out stimulus checks. So any such effort to continue putting free money into people’s hands needs to come from states and cities, which is exactly what we’re seeing right now.
In fact, one pattern that’s starting to repeat itself around the US along these lines: States are taking advantage of budget surpluses to give some of that money back to taxpayers.
Free money: Here come new stimulus payments
Along the lines of that last point, that’s exactly what’s happening in the state of Indiana. It actually has a state law on the book requiring some of any surplus to be returned to taxpayers. And so, this month, Indiana taxpayers will get a refundable tax credit. For residents who file as single taxpayers, it will be $125, while married couples will get $250.
That money is coming as a direct deposit to residents this month and will continue to be sent out over the course of this summer. Paper checks will go out starting in either July or August. Where else, meanwhile, is free money like this going out to residents, you might ask?
- New Mexico: Residents here are getting tax rebates in July. $250 if they make less than $75,000 a year, and a $500 rebate if they make no more than $150,000 a year.
- Colorado: 3.1 million “full-time” state residents are getting a tax rebate. It will total either $400 for individuals or $800 for joint filers. They’ll be based on state tax returns that must be filed by May 31, 2022. And the money will go out in either August or September.
- Illinois: Payments of up to $400 are coming this year for Illinois residents. The payments of $50 or $100 will depend on how many dependents are in a household. Families can claim $100 for up to three.
The Ukraine argument
Meanwhile, some Americans, frustrated that the federal government has turned off the spigot from which free money flowed earlier during the pandemic, have started to ask one particular question, again and again:
Why is the same Congress that stopped sending relief checks to Americans now sending billions of dollars, instead, to Ukraine?
To that point, federal lawmakers on Thursday approved a new round of aid for Ukraine totaling almost $40 billion to help the country continue fighting the Russian invasion. By comparison, the IRS has said that when you add tax refunds and child tax credit payments to the mix of free money handouts sent out to Americans from the federal government during the pandemic, that amount tops $1.5 trillion.
Should the government prioritize giving money to Americans first?
Before you answer that, it’s probably also helpful to consider one more point. Data from a regional bank of the Federal Reserve reveals that the government’s stimulus checks are not consequence-free. That, in fact, those checks added some 3 percentage points to the US inflation rate.