States continues to send targeted help to their populations in the absence of federal stimulus funds. Maine is one of the states that has either sent or is in the process of delivering stimulus payments.
Gov. Janet Mills is pushing for a $250 increase in the inflation stimulus check. After the state commission predicted an increase in state revenues, Mills decided to boost the amount of the inflation stimulus cheques.
Following a meeting of the state’s revenue forecasting commission on Tuesday, Mills revealed her intention to increase the amount of the inflation stimulus checks. Through June 2023, the panel estimates an additional $411.6 million in revenue. The commission had previously estimated the state’s revenue to be $822 million.
Mills opted to increase the state’s inflation stimulus check to $750 by half of the expected gain in revenue. If the state legislature accepts Mills’ supplemental budget proposal, the inflation stimulus check will begin to be distributed in July to nearly 800,000 Maine citizens.
“….I will propose returning at least half of this increased revenue to taxpayers, consistent with my existing proposal and Republican demands, as well as other financially prudent ways we can help Maine residents through these difficult times,” Mills said in a statement.
Mills’ proposal, if enacted, would provide “tax relief to working Maine families and seniors” in addition to raising the size of the inflation stimulus check.
The proposal also asks for free community college for students affected by the coronavirus outbreak for two years, as well as a revamping of the state’s student loan payback scheme. Additional funding for Maine hospitals and nursing homes is also included in the proposal.
Even though Mills’ proposal to return money to the state’s taxpayers has been well received, economists have warned the governor that the future years would be uncertain.
“However, economists warn us that revenues, especially in later years, are volatile and should not be relied upon,” Mills said.
Economists believe that economic uncertainty, such as geopolitical tensions and rising inflation, may have an impact on the prices of everyday products.
To counteract the inflationary impact, it becomes even more vital to offer more to taxpayers. Experts, on the other hand, say that income estimates can’t be trusted in such an unstable situation.
“These revised revenue predictions come at a time when the economy is uncertain across the country,” Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, stated.
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She went on to say that the price of oil has risen from $72 to over $100 a barrel in recent weeks and that inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, is at its highest level in 40 years.
The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, according to Figueroa, might put even more pressure on energy prices and financial markets.
“We’ll keep a close eye on actual sales in comparison to these updated estimates,” Figueroa added.