That’s how many state governments have sent out, approved, or are considering payments to residents to help them cope with the rapidly rising cost of living.
The relief measures range from a $75-per-person tax rebate in Idaho to direct payments of up to $1,050 per household authorized this week by California governor Gavin Newsom. Officials in several states have proposed measures that have yet to pass, such as in Pennsylvania, where Governor Tom Wolf has called for giving households up to $2,000. Many of the plans impose income limits on the payments.
The direct payments are to help people cope with soaring prices for groceries, gasoline, and other necessities amid the highest inflation in more than 40 years. While any relief is welcome news for shoppers, critics say putting more money in consumers’ pockets will only make inflation worse by contributing to an imbalance between supply and demand. Some say that’s exactly what happened when the federal government sent out federal stimulus payments during the pandemic, flooding the economy with cash and stoking today’s inflation.
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