Rebates of $300 apiece will be going to more than 620,000 Delaware taxpayers next month under an inflation-relief plan that cleared the General Assembly on Thursday.
The rebate, which lawmakers approved after first weighing whether to institute a gas tax holiday, will be in the form of actual checks mailed to people who filed a tax return in 2021 for the previous year’s earnings.
The cost is $186 million to the state, which currently has a surplus of about $1 billion for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
In addition to the rebate for taxpayers, the state will also send $300 checks to some 168,000 adult residents who did not file a return last year. The state hopes to identify those recipients through public records such as driver’s licenses.
Checks for those recipients will go out after July 1, once lawmakers appropriate the $50 million cost in the state budget that is usually approved at the end of June. The state has a detailed timeline of when checks will be mailed and other details at de.gov/rebate.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Sokola said the one-time payment with no strings attached has a simple and direct goal — “put some money back into people’s pockets.”
He said the money will go to help people pay for gas, food, going out for meals, home or car repairs, or any other expense they choose.
“They’re going to put that money right back into the local economy,’’ Sokola said before Thursday’s final vote. “There’s all sorts of things that people could use the money for. We’re not going to tell them what they can use it for.”
The bill cited the pandemic, now in its third year, as well as an increase in gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine more than seven weeks ago, and other factors “beyond our control” as justification for the relief to residents.
The House approved the rebate last week on a vote of 35-3 with three members absent.
And Thursday, the Senate approved it unanimously.
Carney signed the bill just minutes after the Senate passed it.
“My hope is these direct payments will provide some measure of relief for Delaware families who are dealing with higher costs at the grocery store and the gas pump,” Carney said when it was introduced. “These direct payments to Delaware families are part of a broader, responsible budget proposal.”
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