New Mexico Delivers Inflation Relief Payments To Residents

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, left, talks Connie Guinn and her granddaughter, Bella Guerrero Munoz, at the emergency evacuation center in Las Vegas, Monday April 25, 2022. The Calf Canyon Fire has forced the evacuation of Guinn and her family, from Laboux, and many residents of San Miguel and Mora County. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, left, talks Connie Guinn and her granddaughter, Bella Guerrero Munoz, at the emergency evacuation center in Las Vegas, Monday April 25, 2022. The Calf Canyon Fire has forced the evacuation of Guinn and her family, from Laboux, and many residents of San Miguel and Mora County. (Eddie Moore/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is delivering the first in a series of direct payments to the state's adult residents to offset higher consumers costs amid inflation.

Individual taxpayers who get direct deposit rebates are scheduled to receive $250 and couples who file jointly are set to receive $500 as early as Thursday. Checks for another 200,000 taxpayers will arrive in the mail over the next few weeks.

The payments are among the $1.1 billion in tax relief and payouts authorized earlier this year by the Democratic-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“Across the country, Americans are grappling with the high costs of essentials," Lujan Grisham said in a statement. "Here in New Mexico, we are doing all we can to provide relief to New Mexico’s families.”

Individual taxpayers will be eligible to receive up to $750 and couples are set to receive as much as $1,500 during three installments between June and August. That doesn't include a newly approved annual per-child tax credit of up to $175, depending on household income.

Residents who do not file taxes because of limited income can apply for one-time relief payments of $500 or $1,000 depending on family size. Undocumented immigrants are eligible for relief under the programs.

“Starting today and throughout the summer, we are putting nearly half a billion dollars back into the pockets of New Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham said a statement.

High fuel prices are hurting household finances as the state government benefits from a financial windfall linked to record-setting oil production in the Permian Basin. New Mexico last year surpassed North Dakota to become the No. 2 oil producer in the nation behind Texas.

Supporters of the proposed payments, including the governor, have said the state has an obligation to help people suffering financial hardships because of inflation. Some Republicans legislators have warned that that rebates might make inflation worse.

The U.S. experienced a sharp increase in consumer prices of 8.3% in April compared with a year ago. The increase was just below a four-decade high reached in March.