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COVID-19 stimulus bill bringing billions to the state and Utahns

(Photo: U.S. Secret Service via CNN)
SALT LAKE CITY– The state and Utahns are raking in billions of dollars following the approval of the  American Rescue Plan, or more commonly known as the COVID-19 stimulus bill. 

Stimulus bill signed Thursday 

The House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Wednesday that includes a $1,400 stimulus check to Americans and extends unemployment benefits. As heard on KSL News Radio Thursday, President Joe Biden has signed the massive COVID-19 relief bill into law. 
 
The House passed the bill in a vote of 220 to 211, with only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voting against the measure. There were no Republican votes in support of the American Rescue Plan. 
 
Utah Representative Blake Moore voted against the bill. Moore told KSL NewsRadio’s Lee Lonsberry there were items in the bill that he could have worked with Democrats on but the bill passed without any Republican support. 
 
Utah’s congressional delegation all voted against the stimulus bill citing the program’s cost, breadth, and lack of bipartisanship in crafting the bill. However, KSL TV’s Dave McCann explained what the stimulus bill will bring to Utah. 

Stimulus bill to benefit Utah

Utahns are expected to benefit significantly from the bill. The massive American Rescue Plan will direct an estimated $7-8 billion to Utah, said Phil Dean, public finance senior research fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Dean reported the biggest chunk of the billions will be from the $1,400 checks, which 85% of Utahns will see. McCann pointed out Utah has the nation’s youngest population and highest fertility rates, which means many Utahns will benefit from the expanded child tax credits.

This is what Utah can expect from the American Rescue Plan:

Direct payments

The legislation will grant $1,400 direct payments to individuals making under $75,000 and $2,800 to married couples who make less than $150,000. Individuals making up to $80,000 and joint filers up to $160,000 will get some money but not the full amount. The direct cash includes up to $1,400 per dependent, including adult dependents.

If you filed taxes by direct deposit, the $1,400 stimulus check and child tax credits should go right into your bank account. If you don’t, they should come to you by mail. Both versions will come from the IRS. 

Child tax credit

According to the bill, these payments should begin in July and would expand the annual child tax credit to $3,600 for children up to age 5 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17.

Most experts expect the payments to be monthly, though that hasn’t been finalized. You will also get credit for January through June, but most likely that will be in the form of a tax credit when you file a return next year.

Unemployment

The bill provides $300 a week in enhanced jobless benefits through Sept. 6.

If you are currently on unemployment, the continuation of the extra $300 should continue automatically as long as you keep reporting your status.

Childcare tax credit and earned income tax credit

These are credits, meaning if you are eligible you will get the full amount, but that will also come with next year’s tax return. These increased credits are just in place for 2021, though Democrats have been clear they want to make them permanent afterward.

Paycheck protection loan

Howard Headlee with the Utah Bankers Association emphasized that the loan applications will now be judged by the amount of revenue lost because of COVID-19 rather than the amount of income lost.

Utahns eligibility for the stimulus relief package

Utah has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than most states. Dean reported Utah is not back to “normal,” however, the employment levels are back in the range of pre-pandemic employment. 

“This is one of the interesting issues we face here in the state,” he said. “By and large, we’re doing much better than the nation, and we’re getting all of this fiscal stimulus dumped into the Utah economy.”

Eligibility for all of this money is based on income thresholds that vary. The $1,400 checks phase out quickly after an individual makes $75,000, the head of the household makes $112,000, and a married couple makes $150,000.

The child tax credits start to phase out at the same points, but will be far more gradual.