What Iowa Gets Out Of The New COVID Relief Law

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Two million Iowa adults and 800,000 children are slated to receive $1,400 stimulus checks, new data from the Biden administration finds.

The sweeping COVID-19 relief package that President Joe Biden signed last week also includes extended unemployment benefits, increased tax credits and will pump states with funding to aid in reopening. For Iowa, the American Rescue Plan is set to provide tax breaks for 851,000 Iowa families, offer $1.6 billion in state funding and $1.1 billion in local funding, among other benefits, according to data provided by a Biden administration official.

“We are really fortunate to see the Biden administration delivering, both for Iowa schools and local governments like the one that I used to serve as part of,” said Scott Syroka, a former Johnston City Council Member.

“I saw on Twitter, someone had mentioned ‘shots and checks.’ Really, can’t get much simpler than that. Checks are going out to people getting them the relief they need, and then shots are getting in arms that will allow people to see their families again and revitalize our economy, especially our small businesses that have been hurting and reopen schools nationwide.”

Biden has said that every American adult is eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.

An estimated 604,000 adults or 27% of all Iowa adults report having difficulty covering normal household expenses, Biden administration data finds. Eight percent of all adults in the state report not having enough food to eat. This includes 81,000 adults living with children who report that the children in their household lack food. An estimated 86,000 renters or 15% of renters are not caught up on rent.

The stimulus checks, for single people with incomes of up to $75,000 and couples making up to $150,000, will be sent to 91% of all adults in the state and 89% of all children– amounting to around $3.7 million for about 1.4 million households.

Additional relief through the plan’s Child Tax Credit will help the families of  93% of the state. This lifts “25,000 children out of poverty,” according to Biden administration data.

The rescue plan raises the maximum Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and extends the credit to 17-year-olds. It will make the full credit available to children in families with low or no earnings, which didn’t always qualify before.

For those without children, the Earned Income Tax Credit is expected to aid 181,000 Iowa workers.

Beyond the $1.6 billion in state funding and $1.1 in local funding that the package provides, Iowa is expected to see more than $803 million in relief for K-12 schools. This comes at a time when public education is facing significant challenges from Iowa GOP lawmakers during the 2021 Legislative Session.

During a press call last week, Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls said he hopes the federally-appropriated state funding will be used for education or broadband. Members of the Iowa GOP have expressed their frustration with the fact that these funds cannot be used on tax cuts for the wealthy.

“We’re at a time right now where there are so many people that need help that focusing on the tax agenda that they had that was really more focused on folks on the higher end of the distribution, the timing was obviously not right at all, so in terms of the funds that are coming in, we’ve been having a lot of discussion about childcare, about broadband,” Wahls said. “I would hope that if we were going to be looking at how to use that money that those are the kinds of things that we’d be spending the funds on.”


by Isabella Murray
Posted 3/18/21

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