The governor and state legislative leaders have reached a budget deal. It will include a $350 check for households earning between $40,000 and $300,000. The check will only go to those households with children. The rationale is middle class families have been squeezed and need help.
I don’t like this for a few reasons. The state doesn’t have cash lying around to hand out. The rebate checks will cost $350 million. There’s no question getting an extra $350 is nice, but it’s not the kind of money that makes or breaks household finances.
I’m also put off by the rebate only going to households with children. Children undoubtedly cost a lot of money. But people made a choice to have them. Many of those people live in households with two incomes. I’m a single woman who lives alone and has not been treated kindly by the recession. I’ve also been squeezed. I worry about the future. And my taxes will now be subsidizing the rebate checks for a whole lot of people who make a whole lot more money than I do, even subtracting the cost of kids.
Before you ask, I don’t whine about my tax dollars supporting daycare subsidies or schools or any number of programs supporting children. Those programs benefit individual children, women, families and society at large. If we didn’t invest in our children, we would pay dearly later on.
But a rebate check is not that kind of investment. This is something else – and it has nothing to do with kids.