Cooper has proposed disbursing these checks that would be from the state’s share of funds from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. He is seeking to tap into $250 million of the $5.7 billion allotted to the state to further financially assist low- and middle-income families.
Under the plan, married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $30,000 would receive $500, while couples making between $30,000 and $60,000 would net $250.
Moreover, individuals earning up to $15,000 would get a $500 payment, while those making between $15,000 and $30,000 would receive $250.
“We decided we would propose an income limit because we need to try to get the money to the families that need it most, and plus it can make that payment to those families larger,” Cooper said, per WNCN.
The governor has dubbed his proposal “Extra Credit Grants 2.0,” acknowledging that he wanted to continue the program Republicans in the General Assembly approved last year, when they approved $335 checks for families with children.
“This is a good idea put forth by the legislature. It has helped a lot of families,” Cooper said.
“We included this in our proposal because of the input we got from a number of legislators that they would like to continue it,” he added.
If passed, North Carolina would join several other states in approving their own stimulus checks or stimulus-related tax refunds for their respective residents.
Earlier this year, Maryland sent out direct payments to residents who claimed the earned income tax credit on their 2019 state tax returns. Individuals received $300 in their bank accounts, while families got a $500 check.
In February, California green-lighted the Golden State Stimulus program, which sent out payments of $600 or $1,200 to eligible residents.
More recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed another round of $600 state stimulus checks, with the focus of expanding the payments even further to also include middle-class families. If passed, two-thirds of the state’s residents would qualify for the stimulus funds.
New Jersey state officials are also primed to disburse $500 tax rebates to low- and middle-income residents. The checks are expected to head out to eligible individuals in July—the same month when the child tax credit payments will be sent out by the IRS.
“It’s a done deal in my mind. In fact, I think it needs to be made permanent, but we’ll have to talk about that going forward. We did this to help the middle class. Well, the middle class needs to be helped all the time, not some of the time,” Sen. Stephen Sweeney recently told NJ.com. “What we’re hoping is that it takes a little of the pressure off. It’s not the end-all, be-all, obviously, it’s $500. But it’s $500 more than they had.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.