Unsurprisingly, Americans have gotten pretty acclimated over the last couple of years to the free money they’ve gotten from the federal government. And, increasingly, from state governments that have started sending out their own stimulus checks and payments, now that those have dried up at the federal level. There will be ramifications of all this, of course, to reckon with down the line. But, for now?
The free money keeps flowing. A handful of states around the US have even stepped up to offer residents their own stimulus payments. That’s following the collapse of support in Congress for more of the monthly child tax credit checks from last year. The key takeaway here: For the first two years of the pandemic? The stimulus money flowed liberally Uncle Sam. To millions of people, no matter where you lived in the US. Now, though, the picture has changed completely.
Stimulus check update
Going forward, the stimulus check story will be a highly localized one. It depends on, for example, if you live in states like California which is poised to bring back something comparable to its Golden State Stimulus effort that sent out checks last year for hundreds of dollars.
The California stimulus checks went out mostly to lower-income residents. That effort later added more people (those making $75,000/year or less). Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom said in recent days that more such payments would likely be part of his next yearly state budget plan. Even though they weren’t part of the initial $286.4 billion proposal that Newsom’s administration drafted.
He’s essentially leaving the door open to the possibility that a new round of free money for residents could show up 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 free money in these states
Where else is the kind of thing — free money from state governments — happening?
- Indiana is one example. The state is actually giving back a chunk of its current budget surplus to residents as a tax refund worth around $125. Residents will get it upon filing their 2021 tax returns.
- Another example is Florida, where the 2022 budget for the Sunshine State is likely to include another bonus for teachers. “Another,” because last year they also got $1,000 checks as a thank-you for their work during the pandemic. As of the time of this writing, however, that new budget is not yet final.
- New York state also 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.
One final note along these lines: It’s not a “payment,” as such. But the second half of last year’s expanded child tax credit benefit is still coming, in the form of a garden variety tax credit. Recipients will get it when they file their tax returns this year.