For the first time, President Biden has acknowledged something that’s seemed obvious for at least a month now. That he doesn’t have the votes and will probably be unsuccessful in his bid to pressure Congress to pass an extension of the monthly child tax credit stimulus checks. The ongoing negotiations for which he addressed during a press conference on Wednesday.
“There’s two really big components that I feel strongly about that I’m not sure I can get in the package,” Biden said. “One is the childcare tax credit and the other is help for the cost of community colleges.” At the same time, however, various stimulus check programs and related efforts are ongoing around the US — and will put free money into the hands and bank accounts of millions of Americans this year.
From California to Vermont, and including cities like Chicago, everything from stimulus checks to basic income programs is being tried. And will unfold in various stages for the rest of this year. Below, we’ve got all the details about some of the initiatives to know about.
Free money coming around the US
California. Let’s start with the Golden State Stimulus 2 checks, the final tranche of which was distributed on January 11. This was the second batch of Golden State stimulus payments sent out to help taxpayers in the state during the pandemic. And state officials said that, while the final checks went out on January 11? It can take up to three weeks for them to all get to their final destination. Meaning, give it until February 1 if you’re waiting on one in this wave, and you don’t have it yet.
Chicago. Chicago, meanwhile, is embarking upon one of the largest basic-income programs in US history. The details: 5,000 low-income households in the city, with an annual income of less than $35,000, will get $500 payments. Every month, for an entire year. “Of course, we need to teach people how to fish,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said in tandem with the passage of the city’s latest annual budget that includes this program. “But, in this moment with so many people suffering in pain and worrying about financial ruin, this is what we must do to make sure that these families don’t slip into the abyss.” The payments will start this year.
New Orleans. Along those same lines, free money is going out to teenagers and young adults in New Orleans as part of a financial literacy program there. For 10 months, those qualifying young people — either unemployed or not attending school, and between ages 16-24 — will get $350/month.
Vermont. The state of Vermont offers reimbursement grants of up to $7,500 for workers from across the US who relocate to the state. And in addition to benefitting workers who move to the state to take a new job? Remote worker grants will be available for people who relocate to Vermont on or after February 1, 2022, and who work remotely, for an out-of-state employer, from within Vermont.
New York. Thousands of tourism workers in New York state are getting free money in the form of a one-time stimulus payment of $2,750, via the state’s Tourism Worker Recovery Fund. As many as 36,000 workers will get these payments. The state is proactively reaching out to eligible individuals — meaning, they don’t need to take action themselves.
Newark, New Jersey. The city of Newark, New Jersey, has expanded a UBI program there to 400 residents. Each of the participants will get a total of $12,000 over two years. The participants are low-income and have to prove a hardship of some kind stemming from the Covid pandemic.
Indiana, Pennsylvania, North Carolina
Three more of these stimulus-related efforts to mention include:
- Durham, North Carolina. In this North Carolina city, 115 formerly incarcerated residents are getting $500/month payments for a year. It’s through the city’s Excel pilot program. And the objective? “To evaluate guaranteed income’s effects on recidivism and re-incarceration, employment, economic security, and income volatility,” among other things.
- Indiana. Residents of the Hoosier state are getting a $125 refund after filing their state tax return this year. State law requires these funds if the state’s reserve coffers exceed a total amount.
- Pittsburgh. Another basic income program is happening in this Pennsylvania city. Pittsburgh is giving 200 people $500/month for two years as part of its “Assured Cash Experiment.” The money is coming from funds Pittsburgh got through last year’s American Rescue Plan.