The bill includes a provision for Delaware residents who do not file income taxes.
The vote was 36 to three with three absent. Three Republicans voted no on the measure.
In comments accompanying an announcement of the vote, Republican legislators said they hoped the rebate would be a starting point in coming up with permanent tax cuts.
A few critics outside the General Assembly claimed the one-time payment was inflationary and could have been used for long-term tax relief. Democrats have rejected GOP tax cut plans and have not come up with legislation of their own.
Maryland, by contrast, opted for a longer-term five-year program aimed primarily at tax relief for the elderly.
The bipartisan 2022 Delaware Relief Rebate Program would create a relief rebate – a one-time direct payment of $300 per Delaware resident taxpayer who filed personal income tax returns for tax year 2020 and adult residents who did not file a 2020 tax return. The rebate would not be subject to Delaware income taxes.
House Bill 360 is designed to help offset residents’ recent hardships and ease the financial burden many are facing. Under the bill, Delawareans who filed 2020 income taxes would receive payments automatically; they would not have to take any action to receive the money.
The bill emerged after it was determined that Delaware could not follow Maryoland’s lead and temporarily suspend gas taxes, due to restrictions on bonds that are paid off with gas tax money.
Payments to more than 600,000 residents could be distributed about six weeks after the bill is signed into law.
The bill also would instruct the Department of Finance to establish a process to provide the relief rebate to resident adults who did not file a 2020 state income tax return – such as seniors and lower-income residents – by identifying adult residents through existing databases held by other state agencies, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles. Those residents would receive their rebate as they are identified.
The Department of Finance would then work with the Department of Technology and Information to implement a process by which eligible residents who have not been identified by other means could apply for and receive the relief rebate, subject to verification of their identity and eligibility.
Last week, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council met to review updated revenue projections for the current fiscal 2022. DEFAC is projecting an additional $206 million in revenue for this fiscal year above previous estimates, which would be used to fully fund the rebate program.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.