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Coronavirus Stimulus Checks from Oregon: Democrats Revive Proposal to Send Money to Workers

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In the absence of federal stimulus checks, lawmakers have turned their focus on providing targeted aid to people who need the help the most. On Tuesday, House Democrats in Oregon reintroduced a bill to give a one-time payment of $600. If approved, the coronavirus stimulus checks from Oregon would help over a quarter-million Oregonians. These coronavirus stimulus checks from Oregon, however, would go only to low-income workers.

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Coronavirus Stimulus Checks From Oregon: What Is It?

House Democrats revised a proposal that was floated in the past to give stimulus checks to essential workers who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier bill proposed sending a direct payment of up to $1,000 to workers in medium- to very high-risk occupations.

However, the revised proposal calls for giving $600 stimulus checks to around 260,000 people who filed for the earned income tax credit on their 2020 filings. Rep. Andrea Valderrama (D-East Portland) is among the chief sponsors of the bill, and will reportedly be responsible for carrying it through the legislative process.

“We know the cost of living is sky-high, the revenue forecast (last week) told us that. Workers need to be able to afford the rising cost of groceries, prescriptions, childcare and all of those things,” Valderrama said.

One important provision of the bill that will significantly benefit the recipients of the coronavirus stimulus checks from Oregon is that these stimulus checks wouldn’t be taxable, and they won’t be available for garnishment as well. This means every recipient would get the full payment.

According to Valderrama, the bill enjoys the support of almost all major unions in the state, as well as the Oregon Food Bank. The first public hearing on the legislation is scheduled for February 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Why Was The Earlier Proposal Canned?

It is believed that the earlier version of the legislation was put on the backburner for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that the original bill created a cumbersome process for workers applying for the payment. So, the lawmakers weren’t comfortable with the prospect of finding a state agency or a third party that could efficiently handle the task of distributing the stimulus checks. The whole process would have resulted in most workers getting the payment next year or even later.

The second reason is that the original proposal called for stimulus checks only for certain types of workers. So, the lawmakers believed that the aid may not be able to reach all who needed it the most. The new proposal, on the other hand, doesn’t discriminate between the types of workers that would be eligible for the stimulus checks.

Under the new proposal, anyone who applied for the earned income tax credit on their 2020 state filing would get the stimulus check. Moreover, even those who don’t have a social security number but use their ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) to file taxes would also be eligible for the coronavirus stimulus checks from Oregon.