They may not be the famed $1,400 coronavirus stimulus checks sent out by the Internal Revenue Service, but for many low-income residents in New Jersey, it appears that they can count on some much-needed financial help heading their way.
New Jersey’s legislature approved a $46 billion state budget Thursday that finally green-lighted tax rebates of up to $500 for nearly eight hundred thousand households in the state. Those funds are expected to be rolled out some time in July.
“The income tax rebate will put money into the pockets of working families so they can support themselves and their children,” he added.
To receive the full rebate, married couples must have incomes below $150,000 and at least one dependent child. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 and have at least one dependent child will also be eligible for the checks.
“With each budget I have introduced, we have provided greater relief to those who need it most,” he added.
New Jersey now joins other states like California and Maryland that already have sent out to their residents direct financial assistance amid the ongoing pandemic.
Sweeney has said that he believes that the payments should be recurring. “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,” he 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. And we’re still in strange times, and I’m hoping it helps,” he added.
Even with some states stepping up to offer direct cash payments, there is still hope among many cash-strapped Americans that another round or two of stimulus checks will eventually be approved by Congress.
Proponents of more stimulus have pointed to recent surveys and studies that suggest that the billions of dollars in government-issued payments have helped millions of Americans avoid financial ruin. One study that was conducted by the University of Michigan discovered that due to the relief bills, household food shortages fell by 42 percent and financial instability 43 percent.
“Our analyses thus far have yielded a fairly simple story: throughout the crisis, the level of hardship faced by U.S. households can be directly linked to the federal government’s response,” the study’s researchers wrote, adding that low-income households earning less than $25,000 benefitted the most from the direct payments.
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.