Stimulus payments are flowing again — in one corner of the US, at least. Maine is the latest US state to offer a new relief check to its residents. Since, remember, the federal checks dried up when support for them collapsed in Congress at the end of 2021.
That’s led to a localized phenomenon, whereby the situation with stimulus checks this year as opposed to 2021 comes down to the luck of where people happen to live. In states like Maine, for example, which is a marked contrast from the way federal lawmakers in 2021 configured relief check eligibility to be broadly applicable to tens of millions of Americans.
The $1.2 billion budget that Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law in recent days included funding for eligible individuals in the state to get $850 checks, while the average household would get $1,700. In total, they’re going out to around 858,000 people.
Relief check: Where’s my payment?
The latest news about these relief checks from Maine is that, on Friday, April 22, the Mills administration set up a website, Maine.gov/reliefchecks. There, people can go to get answers about the payments. Among the key details to know about them is that Maine’s effort, which Mills proposed and which got near-unanimous approval from the state legislature, is coming out of a state surplus.
The stimulus checks are expected to return half of Maine’s budget surplus ($729.3 million) to, as the governor’s office has said, “an estimated 858,000 Maine people grappling with the increased costs as a result of pandemic-driven inflation.”
The new website above includes a number of FAQs and answers, such as the fact that those eligible for the relief checks must have a federal adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 if filing single or if married and filing separately; $150,000 if filing as head of household; or $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
A new stimulus check update
As noted, this comes at a time when such an effort is nonexistent at the federal level. Which could turn into a political time bomb for Democrats in a few months’ time, when the midterm elections arrive. That’s because stimulus checks could mitigate the effects of some nettlesome macroeconomic challenges, like soaring inflation and rising gas prices.
Regarding the latter, White House Correspondents’ Dinner headliner Trevor Noah joked about that very thing over the weekend. And even drew some chuckles from President Biden himself when he told the president not to worry, that things are looking up. Inflation is looking up, gas prices are looking up, rent prices keep going up …
Having said that, this is why we’re seeing efforts like these in different states around the US right now. Along with the relief checks in Maine, of course:
- California: A gas tax rebate of up to $400 per car for up to two vehicles is under consideration.
- Georgia: A tax rebate is coming. It will mean $250 for single filers, $375 for heads of household, and $500 for married filing jointly.
- Hawaii: A tax rebate for every Hawaii taxpayer is under consideration; $300 if you make less than $100,000, and $100 if you make over $100,000.