Maine sending $850 relief checks to residents

Maine sending $850 relief checks to residents

April 21, 2022 0 By Christian Wade

Hundreds of thousands of Maine residents will be getting $850 relief checks this year after Gov. Janet Mills’ signed a $1.2 billion supplemental budget package on Wednesday.

The measure, which was approved with bipartisan support by the state Legislature, calls for spending more than $722 million in state surplus funds to provide one-time relief checks to more than 850,000 residents.

Mills, who signed the bill at a Statehouse ceremony, called its passage a “victory” for the state’s taxpayers and praised lawmakers for working across the political aisle to approve the legislation. She said the relief will help offset the impact of record-high inflation that has driven up costs for everything from gas to food.

“What this budget shows once again through hard work and good faith negotiation [is that] Democrats, Republicans and independents can come together to do what is right for Maine people,” Mills said at the signing ceremony.

The checks will be mailed out by June to those earning up to $100,000 for an individual or married filing separately, up to $150,000 for head of household and up to $200,000 for couples filing jointly, according to the Mills administration.

The supplemental budget also calls for providing two years of free community college for high school students who graduated during the pandemic.

It directs more than $850 million in surplus revenue to fixing roads and bridges, boosting spending on public education and pumping more money into the state’s retirement system and reserve funds. Another $60 million is also earmarked for testing and remediation of so-called forever chemicals.

The plan also includes tax relief, with $7 million earmarked to increase the state’s property tax fairness credit, which will benefit 100,000 low and middle count income property owners. The credit provides property owners and renters who pay more than 4% of their budgets on taxes or rent with tax credits ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 a year.

Maine is expecting a windfall of excess tax revenue over the next two years and the Mills administration and lawmakers have been debating plans for months to spend the money.

The Mills’ administration says the state’s general fund revenues are up by more than $1.2 billion for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, compared to initial projections in the biennial budget.

Maine officials say a range of factors, including low interest rates, federal stimulus and increased consumer activity, have improved the state’s economic outlook.

The state has also received more than $1 billion in federal funding from relief packages approved by Congress, which helped buoy state finances throughout the pandemic.

This article was originally posted on Maine sending $850 relief checks to residents