Stimulus Update: No Federal Checks Are Coming, But Your State May Have Money For You

Businessman with US Dollars.
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With inflation rising to 7.9% in February and consumer prices the highest in 40 years, more than a dozen states have already or are considering putting money back into consumers’ wallets by sending their residents one-time relief checks.

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Other state lawmakers are proposing sales, income or property tax cuts and shelving gas taxes in attempts to soften the blow of these record-high food and gas costs.

These tales of generosity come at a time when most states are experiencing an influx of tax revenue collected during the previous fiscal year and a buffer of federal pandemic aid funds. These large state surpluses and an optimistic economic recovery are prompting many governors to open their coffers to help its residents who have been hit hard financially during the pandemic.  

In most cases, tax relief and rebate checks are just temporary relief. Critics claim these checks won’t help cover rising costs people are facing and that tax suspensions divert money away from where it is needed. Indeed, most state governments will be leaning toward relief that has a small but immediate impact instead of altering current tax formulas.

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Regardless of the route a state takes, it looks like most, or all, will eventually be issuing some limited assistance to soften the soaring price shocks felt most poignantly at gas pumps and grocery lines.

According to AAA, the national average for unleaded gasoline jumped to a high of $4.33 a gallon on March 11 and the consumer price index says that the price of gasoline surged 6.6% in February 2022, up 38% from a year ago. It is expected that the average family will pay an estimated $2,000 in additional costs this year due to the higher prices of gas alone. 

Food prices have increased 7.9% over the last year. For this year, the USDA expects menu prices for food away from home (restaurants, food service companies) to rise 5.5-6.5%, which would be a higher hike than in 2020 and 2021, and historically, higher than average. Food-at-home prices (groceries) are expected to rise 3-to 4%.

Many of the state spending plans are still in the process of being finalized. However, here’s what some states are proposing as far as rebates are concerned:

California — Bearing in mind the state’s unusually high gas prices, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing direct payments of $400 per vehicle to California residents (two vehicles maximum). If passed into law, checks could arrive by July.

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Georgia — A few weeks ago, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill for taxpayers who have filed returns for both 2020 and 2021 to receive rebate checks of $250 (single filers), $375 (heads of households) or $500 (married joint filers).

Hawaii — In January, Governor David Ige proposed sending $100 refunds to each taxpayer and their dependents. By refunding residents it is hope that will inject $110 million back into the state’s economy.

Idaho — A tax rebate bill was signed in February by Gov. Brad Little. Each taxpayer will receive $75 or 12% of their 2020 Idaho income tax return, whichever is the greater amount.

Indiana — According to the Indianapolis Star, residents will receive $125 each after they file their 2002 taxes due to higher projected tax revenue.

Maine — Claiming that Maine residents will spend $560 more this year than last, Gov. Janet Mills wants residents to receive $850 as part of the state’s budget bill.

Minnesota — Gov. Tim Walz’s plan for spending the state’s budget surplus includes a proposal to issue income tax rebate checks of $1,000 per couple.

New Jersey — When Gov. Phil Murphy was up for election last year, the New Jersey legislature included cash checks of up to $500 for about one million families in its budget.

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New Mexico — In March, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation to provide $250 rebate checks to all individuals ($500 for married couples). These rebates are like federal government stimulus checks in that they have income limits. Single filers with an income up to $75,000 are eligible (couples up to $150,000).

See: Which States Are Most Affected by Soaring Gas Prices?
Find: Why Are Gas Prices Still So High in California?

New York — Through a $1 billion property tax rebate program, an average benefit of around $970 for homeowners outside of New York City is being proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Virginia — Details and amounts haven’t been decided but according to local news outlet, it is expected that every individual will be receiving rebate check tax relief for $250 or $300 ($500 or $600 for married couples).

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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