COVID-19 stimulus fatigue? Utahns say they’ll take the money, but they don’t really need it

Kevin Sargent looks at fencing with his daughter, Emilia, at a Lowe’s in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Sargent will be using his federal stimulus check to pay for the fencing that he is planning to install himself.

Kevin Sargent looks at fencing with his daughter, Emilia, at a Lowe’s in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Sargent will be using his federal stimulus check to pay for the fencing that he is planning to install himself. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Are Utahns experiencing COVID-19 stimulus fatigue?

Maybe not, but data from a new Deseret News-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows over half of residents don’t consider the latest, and most generous, round of stimulus checks to be that big a deal.

The survey, conducted by Scott Rasmussen on March 26-31 of 1,000 registered Utah voters, found that 54% of respondents rated the third round of stimulus checks/direct deposits that started going out last month as either “not very” or “not at all” important to their current financial situations. The poll has a 3.1% margin of error.

So far, the federal government has disbursed three rounds of checks to individuals with the goal of stimulating spending amid recession conditions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last March, following passage of the nearly $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, many U.S. taxpayers became eligible for payments that provided $1,200 for each eligible adult and $500 for each dependent child.

In December, another round of “economic impact” payments went out, this time granting $600 to each eligible adult and $600 per dependent child. And, most recently, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan provided funding for $1,400 checks to adults and another $1,400 to children. Each plan came with earnings caps on full stimulus payments that ranged from $80,000-$99,000 for single filers and $160,000-$198,000 for those filing joint returns.

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And even though a solid majority of Utahns may not be in dire need of the most recent wave of federal assistance, 46% of those polled said the money was going to be “very” or “somewhat” important to their personal financial affairs.

Among those was Bree Robinson of Beaver.

Robinson, 43, said even though pandemic restrictions resulted in a severe slowdown of her family’s collision repair business, they were able to navigate the hardships through frugality and tightening up the budget. And while she has yet to see the latest round of stimulus money, it’s expected and the money will go into savings, as have the first two payments of federal assistance they’ve received.

Robinson works as a teacher’s aid, but is also part of the family repair business, which is headed by her husband and also includes two of their teenage daughters among the staff.

Robinson said she’s grateful to have the money as backup, particularly as rising gas prices are impacting company expenses. She is also anticipating business tax rates could go up under the new administration.

“Being self-employed changes things,” Robinson said. “When taxes fluctuate and fuel fluctuates it has a really big impact on our business.”

Robinson said that while business volume at the repair shop is almost back to where it was before the COVID-19 outbreak, she and her husband are happy to have the backup savings the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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