US stimulus check: which states are providing their own payments?

Despite calls from progressives within the Democratic Party and from Americans across the country, President Biden has remained unwilling to push for a fourth stimulus check in recent months. His first major legislative achievement, the American Rescue Plan, included a $1,400 payment but the subject has gone quiet since then.

Instead the Biden administration has focused on his new infrastructure project, trying to build bipartisan support for the $3.5 trillion package. This proposal includes an extension for the new Child Tax Credit but no fourth stimulus check.

With nothing forthcoming from the federal government, some states are choosing to provide their own direct payments for residents.

California’s Golden State Stimulus checks will be distributed soon

Many states have passed their own relief legislation during the pandemic to provide for the short-term needs of residents in a way that the federal government simply can’t.

Following a record-breaking $75 billion budget surplus from 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom passed the California Comeback Plan. The $100 billion package was designed to expand the programmes included in the Golden State Stimulus check and make them available to more people.

Central to that was a round of $600 stimulus checks, which were initially sent to residents who qualified for CalEITC support. However from September the California Franchise Tax Board will be sending out payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and married couples earning up to $150,000, provided they did not receive the first round of California stimulus checks.

Educators will be thanked with bonus payments from stimulus funding

Included in the American Rescue Plan was a considerable amount of federal funding to be spent as the state wished, to aid the covid-19 recovery. A number of states have now decided to use the stimulus funds to offer a bonus to teachers and other school staff, who have been tasked with working through difficult conditions during the pandemic.

In June the Florida state legislature approved a new state budget that provided a $1,000 bonus for the state’s public school teachers, which should arrive when the new academic year starts in the fall. The Sunshine State’s schools remained open for much of the pandemic and Gov. Ron DeSantis decided that those who worked through it all deserved compensation. However he has drawn criticism for failing to extend the offer to other school employees like counsellors, cafeteria workers and support staff.

In Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has also approved a $1,000 bonus for teachers and school staff, costing roughly $240 million of federal funding. Richard Woods, Superintendent of the Board of Education, said the decision would “ensure these hard-working employees are recognized for their above-and-beyond efforts, and we want them to stay in public education for the benefit of the students they serve.”

A similar package was passed in Tennessee which also provided a $1,000 bonus for teachers, with $500 for those who work part-time. The bill was passed on 30 June and recipients will get the payments before the end of the year. However, the one-off payments come in place of a 2% pay rise which many educators had expected to be introduced.