If 2021 was the year of the stimulus check, this year is shaping up to be the period when state and local leaders try and figure out how to make up for it.
The political dynamic in Congress makes a new round of direct aid — like a fourth stimulus check, or more of the monthly child tax credit payments — all but impossible at the moment. No payments at all from the federal government, however, is a striking contrast to the more than half a dozen checks that millions of Americans got last year. Democrats also know that it’s a political liability, to some degree, to completely slam the brakes on those payments. This is also why states and local governments have stepped into the breach, to offer stimulus-related aid of their own.
Stimulus check update
All of which is to say: While last year’s checks were by and large pretty broad-based, to get any kind of stimulus check at all this year will largely depend on where you live. On whether your state leaders have decided to offer up such programs and initiatives of their own.
California, for example, looks poised to bring back something comparable to its Golden State Stimulus effort that sent out checks last year for hundreds of dollars. To tens of thousands of state residents.
The California stimulus checks went out mostly to lower-income residents in 2021. That effort was later expanded slightly, to include people making $75,000/year or less. California Governor Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, said earlier this month that more stimulus payments would likely be part of his next yearly state budget plan.
The stimulus payments weren’t part of the initial $286.4 billion proposal that Newsom unveiled in recent days. But he’s essentially leaving the door open to the possibility that they could be in a May revision. “We expect in the May (revised) language when I update the budget that we are likely to have an additional rebate to the taxpayers,” he said, according to a California TV news station.
More payments from other states?
Meanwhile, this same kind of thing is either happening elsewhere in the US. Or about to, soon. Examples in addition to California include:
- Florida: The 2022 budget for the Sunshine State is likely to include another bonus for teachers (who, last year, got $1,000 checks as a thank-you for their work during the pandemic). As of the time of this writing, however, that budget is not yet final.
- New York. New York state set up a $2.1 billion stimulus fund to help undocumented workers who were shut out of getting any of the federal stimulus payments over the past two years. Eligbility requirements include New York residency, as well as income of less than $26,000 in 2020.
- Indiana. Then there’s the state of Indiana, which is giving back a chunk of the state’s current budget surplus to residents as a tax refund worth around $125. Residents will get it upon filing their 2021 tax returns.