Feb 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

States pass coronavirus aid without Congress

A health care worker administering a coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Oakland, California, on Feb. 16.

A health care worker administering a coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 16. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Multiple states have passed or are considering economic relief bills as the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan makes its way through Congress, AP reports.

Why it matters: The state aid packages aim to help jobless residents and struggling small businesses devastated by the pandemic. But the individual action also bolsters arguments against another major cash infusion from the federal government.

State aid packages:

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed legislation last week featuring $300 one-time payments for individuals, $500 payments to families and up to $9,000 in sales tax relief for small businesses.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) recently unveiled a $695 million emergency budget proposal that, if passed, would include bonuses for educators and school staff, hazard pay for state law enforcement, funding for rural broadband and relief for small businesses.
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed legislation in January that uses $145 million in reserves from workers' compensation funds for grants of up to $50,000 for bars, restaurants and hotels.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has not yet signed a relief plan that would provide $200 million in direct grants to businesses, a $600 tax rebate to low-wage workers and a four-month tax holiday for restaurants.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a $7.6 billion relief package this week that includes $600 in one-time payments for about 5.7 million residents and around $2 billion for struggling businesses.

The big picture: The House is set to vote on the Biden administration’s coronavirus stimulus plan that covers:

  • Stimulus checks of up to $1,400 per person for Americans making up to $75,000 a year.
  • Increased weekly unemployment insurance up to $400 a week and an extension of those benefits through August.
  • $130 billion for K-12 schools, and roughly $40 billion for higher education.
  • $350 billion for state and local governments.
  • Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
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