While it doesn’t appear that the federal government is going to be sending out stimulus checks to Americans this year, some checks will be delivered at the state level.
One governor has proposed a new direct stimulus check program for his state.
According to WCCO, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has proposed sending out direct checks, known as “Walz Checks,” to 2.7 million households in the state. The funding, introduced as part of a state budget proposal, would come from the state’s budget surplus, which is reportedly $7.7 million.
The money most Minnesotans would receive isn’t a huge dollar amount—$150 for some single filers and $350 for married couples who “make up to a certain amount”—but frontline workers would receive $1,500 payments.
“It’s about making sure we’re lifting up those who are hurt hardest during the pandemic, and it’s making sure that there’s a long-range vision about where Minnesota is going—and [the] world economy—and we are well-positioned to do that,” the governor said, per WCCO.
Republicans, however, have expressed opposition to Walz’s plan, calling it “an election-year gimmick.” The Democratic governor, elected in 2018, is running this year for a second term.
Other states also sent out their own direct stimulus checks in 2021, including California—as part of what was known as the Golden State Stimulus—and Colorado, through what was called the Polis Stimulus Payment. Other states had stimulus payments just for first responders and those who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Why hasn’t the federal government approved another round of stimulus checks? The most notable reason is that the White House and leaders in Congress have other legislative priorities at this stage in the pandemic.
Stimulus checks were passed twice in 2020 and a third time in early 2021, but elected officials appear to have determined that current circumstances don’t warrant another round of checks. Another factor is rising inflation, which the Federal Reserve and some elected officials have blamed on the economic overheating that followed the arrival of stimulus checks.
There are still some calls for more stimulus checks, including one popular petition that recently passed 3 million signatures. CNN reported earlier this month that a bipartisan group of senators was discussing additional aid for businesses impacted by the pandemic during December negotiations, but those talks did not concern direct checks for individuals. Furthermore, the talks did not get very far, mostly due to a lack of buy-in from Senate leadership.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.