Millions of dollars in child tax relief checks will soon be distributed across New York state in the coming weeks, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced.
Her office said the checks will arrive by the end of October, coming just days before the midterm elections. The Democrat governor is up for reelection against GOP challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
“With this relief package, we’re making good on our commitment to helping hardworking New Yorkers through the nationwide affordability crisis,” Hochul said in a statement.
“This program will put money back in the pockets of nearly two million New York families struggling to make ends meet in the face of the pandemic, inflation, and other rising costs,” she said.
Other Democrat state leaders lauded the payments in a press release issued by Hochul’s office.
Some 1.75 million low-income New Yorkers will be receiving a combined $475 million, according to her office. It means that an average payment of $270 will be handed out to each eligible recipient, according to her office.
The plan was approved earlier this year by the Democrat-controlled state legislature, and taxpayers who claimed the Empire State Child Credit or the Earned Income Credit are eligible for the checks.
Eligible residents don’t need to take any action to receive their checks as checks will be mailed automatically, Hochul said.
The governor’s office claimed the new payments are part of an “ongoing effort to combat inflation and improve affordability” although some critics have said that stimulus checks will likely exacerbate inflation, which is running at near-historic highs. Data released by the federal government shows the Consumer Price Index remained high at 8.5 percent year-over-year in July, while it hit 9.1 percent in June.
When President Joe Biden took office last January, the Consumer Price Index stood at 1.4 percent. In May of 2021, that figure reached 5 percent, data show.
Other states including California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, and more have opted to distribute state-level stimulus payments or rebates. Some of the payments are coming via federal funding that was included in massive spending packages that were passed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christina Herrin from the nonprofit Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) wrote that stimulus checks by states are a “fruitless attempt to combat inflation.”
In a recent blog post, Herrin wrote that there is “no evidence” for the claim that pumping money into the economy will stop inflation. Furthermore, she argued that the Democrat-backed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, which included another round of stimulus payments, was a “significant factor” in spawning higher inflation this year.
“A one-time payment for ‘inflation relief’ is far different than tax rebates that many states are providing to all taxpayers based on income. They are feel-good band-aids that will make everything more expensive and keep inflation going longer than it would otherwise,” Herrin said.
Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report.