Today’s passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act means relief is on the way for Kentuckians still being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This landmark legislation provides the aid families, communities and our economy need and builds a bridge to the other side of this crisis. It also breaks new ground on more aggressive efforts to fight poverty and economic insecurity in America.
Among its many crucial features (see a full, detailed analysis here):
- $1,400 checks to every adult and child with incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples, or 92% of Kentuckians;
- $300 a week in extra unemployment benefits through September 6 and a continuation of other pandemic unemployment programs, helping over 100,000 laid-off Kentuckians get by;
- An expanded child allowance of up to $3,600 per kid that will go to 86% of Kentucky’s children and their families, and a portion of which for the first time will be delivered monthly;
- Food and rental aid for those struggling to pay for basic needs, as well as over $760 million in Kentucky for childcare assistance;
- Over $4 billion in aid to Kentucky state and local governments to protect public services and restore budget cuts, allow relief to those harmed by the pandemic, support essential workers, and/or allow water, sewer and broadband infrastructure investments;
- Over $2 billion to Kentucky public schools and universities to allow them to operate safely, address learning loss and support students;
- Expanded assistance to make purchasing healthcare on the state’s healthcare exchange more affordable for at least 78,000 Kentuckians;
- Monies to accelerate vaccinations and further bolster the public health response to COVID-19.
These hardship-reducing measures are essential in a state that still has 114,000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic hit. Over 1 in 3 Kentuckians tell the Census Bureau they have difficulty affording usual household expenses. Nearly 1 in 5 Kentucky parents say their children aren’t getting enough to eat, and 16% of Kentucky renters are behind on rent payments.
The ARP Act will provide an economic lifeline and give Kentucky the tools we need to finish the fight against the pandemic. This extraordinary legislation will allow Kentuckians to emerge on the other side stronger and more secure. And its groundbreaking measures — like the expanded child tax credit, which will cut child poverty nearly in half — can create a new path for transformative policy that works for Kentuckians.
Statement from Kentucky Center for Economic Policy Executive Director Jason Bailey.