Oregon Floats Providing Its Own Stimulus Checks

Oregon Floats Providing Its Own Stimulus Checks

Organized labor in Oregon has expressed support for the bill, which costs about $180 million.

While stimulus checks at the federal level are almost certainly a thing of the past, states like California and Colorado have been sending out checks of their own.

Now, Oregon may be getting ready to join them.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Democrats in Oregon’s state legislature have revived a plan to send $600 checks to “nearly 260,000 Oregonians facing economic struggles due to the pandemic.” The Democrats had previously proposed stimulus checks specifically for first responders who worked throughout the pandemic.

OregonLive reported that those in Oregon who received the earned income tax credit in 2020 will be eligible for the new payments.

In addition, legislators had proposed an earlier version that allowed low-income workers to apply for payments. However, lawmakers were “uneasy about the prospect of finding a state agency or third-party vendor that could handle that volume of work in a timely manner,” echoing concerns at the federal level about the logistics of stimulus checks and other payments.

The revived bill, according to the legislature’s website, directs “one-time assistance payments to low-income households to address negative economic impacts of COVID-19 public health emergency.” It is not geared toward any particular type of worker.

Organized labor in Oregon has expressed support for the bill, which costs about $180 million.

“We know that working and low-wage families need this funding now,” Rep. Andrea Valderrama, a key sponsor of the bill, said in the article. “We know the cost of living is sky-high, the revenue forecast [last week] told us that. Workers need to be able to afford the rising cost of groceries, prescriptions, childcare and all of those things.”

Back in 2020, Oregon passed one-time $500 relief payments for about 70,000 Oregonians who were unemployed at the time, leading citizens to line up at banks and credit unions for “free money.”

Last September, KOIN in Portland reported that a “quirk” in Oregon tax law led to almost 900,000 people in Oregon paying an extra $300 million in state taxes on 2020’s federal stimulus checks. And attempts by state legislatures to refund that money hit a “standstill.”

“Oregon has our money, I fear that it will be very hard for them to relinquish it without public pressure,” one taxpayer told the station.

In addition, Street Roots reported in 2020 that prisoners in Oregon would not be receiving stimulus checks from that year’s CARES Act.

“The (Oregon DOC) received confirmation from both the Internal Revenue Services and the Oregon Department of Justice that federal stimulus funds received on behalf of an adult in custody should be returned to the U.S. Treasury,” the state’s Corrections Department told the outlet at the time.

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.

Image: Reuters.