State senators approve one-time inflation relief checks

People in Massachusetts could have an extra $250 in their pockets come September.
Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - People in Massachusetts could have an extra $250 in their pockets come September. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate approved those one-time stimulus checks, but it’s not quite a done deal.

“Anything helps,” said Hugo Mariani of Agawam.

The Massachusetts Senate approved $250 tax rebates and other tax relief measures as part of a $4.6 billon economic bill late last night.

“We needed to get some money back in people’s pockets and yesterday was the first step to doing that,” said State Senator John Velis.

Velis said that single taxfilers earning $38,000 to $100,000 will receive a $250 check, while married taxpayers earning a maximum income of $150,000 will get $500 checks. Efforts to remove the minimum income threshold failed as 770,000 low-income residents were previously given $500 checks.

“$500 back, you know, a year ago or so, whenever it was, that’s why so different than right now. Prices are significantly higher, so it’s obviously something that we’re continuing to talk about,” Velis added.

Lawmakers still have work to do before you can cash that $250 check. The House and Senate needs to reconcile the differences in their bills and then send it Governor Baker’s desk.

“The big push, right now, is that every bill needs to get to the governor and there needs to be action by July 31 and that is a week from Sunday,” Velis explained.

Mariani said that even with the cost-of-living increase to social security, seniors are struggling.

“Cost of living is gone up 10 percent and senior citizens only got a 5.9 percent, so we are already behind the eight ball, so hopefully every little bit counts,” Mariani added.

He knows families are in dire need.

“Schools coming, you got to go back-to-school. At least have that $500 that you can use for kids clothes and stuff like that,” Mariani said.

However, not everyone approves of the one-time rebate.

“We can’t just keep giving money away. We’ve got to tighten up,” said Joe Halpy of Agawam.

Velis said the rebates will come from the state’s surplus.

“It would be absurd if we had this type of excess revenue, this type of surplus, and we didn’t give some of that back because it’s, keep in mind, this is taxpayer money to begin with,” Velis noted.

The bill is crafted to take effect immediately and if the governor signs off on the legislation, the checks could come as soon as September.