Where’s the 4th Stimulus Check? Don't Ask This Guy, Ask Your Governor.

Where’s the 4th Stimulus Check? Don't Ask This Guy, Ask Your Governor.

Against a backdrop of financially struggling Americans, two states already have stepped up and approved their own stimulus checks. 

The disbursement of the current third round of coronavirus stimulus checks is now likely heading into the final weeks—and this means that many cash-strapped Americans will need to find other ways to scrape by.

There is indeed still hope for a fourth round of stimulus, but that seems to be dissipating as the weeks go by. Perhaps these financially struggling Americans should be directing their collective attention somewhere else. Instead of the federal government, they should be eyeing their respective states.

According to the recently released spending rules by the U.S. Department of Treasury, states giving out more stimulus has become a real possibility to further help Americans amid the ongoing pandemic. As part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the guidance on the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund includes $350 billion in direct funds to states, counties, cities, and tribal governments that have populations of more than fifty thousand.

Furthermore, there is indeed a particular section that states that governments can, in fact, send out the money for direct assistance to households who have been hurt by the health crisis.

These people have “experienced unemployment or increased food or housing insecurity or are low- or moderate-income and have experienced negative economic impacts resulting from the pandemic,” according to the Treasury.

Against this backdrop, know that two states already have stepped up and approved their own stimulus checks.

Maryland, earlier this year, sent out direct payments to residents who claimed the earned income tax credit on their 2019 state tax returns. Individuals were able to receive $300, while families got $500.

In addition, California in February green-lighted the Golden State Stimulus program, which disbursed payments of $600 or $1,200. More recently, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks, with the aim to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families. If passed, this would make two-thirds of the state’s residents eligible for the funds.

Newsom has also proposed that families with children receive an additional $500, $5 billion to double rental assistance, and $2 billion to help pay for utility bills.

There appears to be growing support among Americans for more rounds of stimulus payments. In one particular letter, nearly two dozen Democratic senators pointed to polling data that showed that a majority of Americans strongly back recurring checks.

“Polling shows 65 percent of Americans support recurring cash payments ‘for the duration of the pandemic.’ This includes support from 54 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents. Economists support the idea too,” the letter stated. 

Moreover, about 2.2 million people already have signed a Change.org petition that calls for $2,000 recurring monthly stimulus checks.

“We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water,” the petition stated.

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.

Image: Reuters