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'The Checks Are So Miserly' | Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot Says State's COVID Relief Stimulus Checks Aren't Enough

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- If you qualify for the State's COVID relief stimulus, you could see a check in the mail or in your bank account by the end of the week.

Andrew Farantos is a third-generation Owner of G&A Diner in Highlandtown. He said the pandemic hit Baltimore restaurants particularly hard.

"When you open up a restaurant, and you're used to making a certain amount of money, the margins are already thin, and this just makes it thinner," he said.


Gov. Larry Hogan signed a $1 billion COVID relief plan into law intended to provide tax relief of up to $9,000 for small businesses.

Businesses like G&A are protected against an increase in unemployment taxes. It's a way to supplement the income from loyal customers.

"With people staying in and not spending money, of course, business is going to go down," Rosemarie Pappas, a customer of G&A, said.

Nearly 400,000 low-income Marylanders will also get a check, $500 dollars for families and $300 for individuals.

"I mean, can you imagine being thousands of dollars in debt and you get a $300 check," Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

Franchot said the dollar amount is too low.

The bill also leaves out anyone who hasn't opted into the earned income tax credit or EITC program. That's about 150,000 Marylanders, including thousands of immigrant families.

"I call it the so-called relief plan A. because so many people are left off, and B. because the checks are so miserly," the comptroller said.

Nevertheless, he said his office is processing payments quickly. Over 90% of stimulus payments will be given out by Friday. It includes payment of $1,000 to anyone waiting for unemployment insurance.

Farantos said every little bit helps.

"We want to fill this place up so that we can get our four waitresses coming in and working, our cook in the back working instead of struggling and not being able to do it," he said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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