State Comptroller Peter Franchot is pushing the idea of a Maryland stimulus package to supplement the federal package Congress passed in December.
He says the $600 checks in that package will be of little help and that Maryland should issue the $2,000 checks that Congress rejected, and that President Trump called for in his criticism of the bill.
“There’s a lot of needless suffering going on out there from people who don’t have any money,” he said. “And it’s not their fault.”
The checks would help people pay the rent, put food on the table and shore up a flagging economy, he argued.
Under his plan, the state would send the checks to single workers with children earning $50,000 or less and couples with children combining $100,000 or less. He said that would cover about 450,000 Marylanders and would cost about $900 million.
The money would come from $2.5 billion in what he called “reserve funds,” such as the state’s rainy-day fund, he says have not been allocated.
“So, take $900 million of the $2.5 billion that we have, and put it out the door,” he said. “I could put it in people's pockets within a matter of days, no longer than a week, because we have all these folks in our database.”
The beauty of it, he says, is he doesn’t need General Assembly approval to do it, just the go-ahead from governor, the president of the state Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. They all said through spokespersons they were working on their own stimulus plans and would not comment on Franchot’s idea.