Stimulus Update: Wondering Why You're Still Hearing About Stimulus? Here Are 3 Legit Reasons It's Still in the News

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  • Stimulus stories remain alive and well as states continue to send payments.
  • Researchers continue to study the impact of the expanded Child Tax Credit payments.
  • The expanded Child Tax Credit may yet find new life.

News that just won’t die.

We're even surprised by how long these stimulus stories have circulated. The truth of the matter is, though, federal stimulus checks may have ceased, and the expanded Child Tax Credit may have hit the end of the road a year ago, but all is not quite as it appears.

Here are three reasons we haven't heard the last of stimulus payments of some sort just yet.

1. Some states continue to share the wealth

Throughout early 2023, a handful of states plan to send checks to eligible residents. Whether it's called a credit, refund, or inflation-fighting check, it's still stimulus sent from the reserves states received from the federal government during the pandemic.

These seven states plan to have all remaining checks distributed between now and early springtime:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

2. Expanded Child Tax Credit payments were successful

One issue keeping Child Tax Credit payments in the news is the dramatic impact researchers have found they had on childhood poverty. With nothing of its kind to compare it to, the expanded Child Tax Credit is at the center of numerous studies into whether the federal government can (and should) act to lift children out of poverty.

According to the Brookings Institution, the expanded Child Tax Credit is responsible for reducing childhood poverty by at least 30%. Now that those payments have stopped, 19 million of the poorest children in the country receive only partial or no Child Tax Credit credit because their parents earn too little money to qualify.

Worth discussing is the fact that families earning as much as $400,000 receive the full credit at tax time.

Studies have found that childhood poverty not only damages a child's health and educational achievement but also negatively impacts their long-term prospects. Just as some children are born into families with generational wealth, many of these children are born into families with generational poverty.

The question of whether the government can do something to help these children is no longer theoretical. Six months of expanded Child Tax Credit payments hitting bank accounts across the country was enough to pull 3.7 million American children out of poverty.

Chances are that economists, advocates for the poor, and scholars will be discussing the impact of the expanded Child Tax Credit on everyday families for decades to come.

3. Bipartisan negotiations are underway

By the end of 2022, it is expected that bipartisan negotiation regarding Child Tax Credit expansion will pick up steam. In addition to Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, a growing number of Republicans say they want to see some kind of new, permanent expanded Child Tax Credit payments.

While there is no question that all children deserve the help, the current Republican version of an expanded Child Tax Credit -- as championed by Sen. Mitt Romney -- wants Child Tax Credit benefits to reach families with incomes up to $500,000, while children whose parents have no income would receive nothing.

Clearly, there are details to be worked out between the two parties if Congress hopes to reinstate a program that helps the neediest among us. And as those details are worked out, stimulus news remains on the front page.

Ultimately, stimulus of any kind impacts millions of families. And as surprised as any of us are to still be talking about it, there are several legitimate reasons why it's worth revisiting.

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