In the absence of federal stimulus checks, states are continuing to send targeted relief to their residents. Several states have already sent or are in the process of sending stimulus checks, including Maine. Gov. Janet Mills is working to boost the inflation stimulus check by about $250. Mills’ plan to raise the amount of the inflation stimulus checks comes after the state commission estimated an increase in state revenues.
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Boost In Inflation Stimulus Check
Mills announced her decision to raise the amount of the inflation stimulus checks following a meeting of the state’s revenue forecasting commission on Tuesday. The panel estimated $411.6 million in additional revenue through June 2023. Previously, the panel projected the state’s revenue at $822 million.
Mills decided to use half of the estimated increase in revenue to boost the state’s inflation stimulus check amount to $750. The inflation stimulus check will benefit about 800,000 Maine residents and start to go out sometime in July if the state legislature approves Mills’ supplemental budget proposal.
“….I will propose giving back at least half of this additional revenue to the taxpayers, consistent with my current proposal and consistent with the calls of Republicans, along with other fiscally responsible ways we can support Maine people through these challenging times,” Mills said in a statement.
In addition to increasing the size of the inflation stimulus check, Mills’ proposal, if approved, would also offer “tax relief to working Maine families and seniors.” The proposal also calls for two years of free community college for students impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and overhauling the state’s student loan repayment program. The proposal also ensures additional assistance for Maine hospitals and nursing homes.
Can The Revenue Projections Be Trusted?
Even though Mills’ proposal to give back money to the state’s taxpayers has been welcomed, economists have warned the governor of uncertainty in the coming years.
“However, economists are also warning us that revenues, particularly those in later years, are volatile and should not be counted on,” Mills said.
Economists believe potential uncertainty in the economy, such as geopolitical tensions and rising inflation, could affect the prices of regular goods. In such a scenario, it becomes even more important to give more to taxpayers to counter the inflation impact. However, experts believe revenue projections can’t be fully trusted under such an uncertain scenario.
“These new revenue projections come during uncertain economic times nationally,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.
She added that the oil price has jumped from $72 to over $100 per barrel in the last few weeks, while inflation based on the Consumer Price Index is at its highest in 40 years. Figueroa also noted that the war between Russia and Ukraine could put further pressure on energy prices and the financial markets.
“We will carefully monitor actual revenues relative to these new projections,” Figueroa said.