Permanent extension of the child tax credit may help beyond the pandemic

On July 8, as the children of the Lansing area ran through the halls and played on the playground at the Foster Community Center, I was inside the gymnasium to discuss an important policy change that should benefit to almost all the children of the capital and the state. .

I recently attended a press conference held by Senator Debbie Stabenow to discuss further enhancements to the Federal Child Tax Credit as part of the US bailout, including the advance payments which begin this month. . She was joined by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Mayor Andy Schor, Community Center Executive Director Cristo Rey, Joe Garcia, Michigan’s Children CEO Matt Gillard and Lansing-area mother Anita Cobb, who each spoke of the benefits of credit for their constituents, communities and, in Anita’s case, household.

Passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March, the US Federal Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) improved the child tax credit for 2021 by increasing the maximum credit amount to $ 3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 and $ 3,600 for children under 6. old woman. Families whose income does not exceed $ 150,000 for a couple or $ 112,500 for a lone parent are eligible for the full credit.

About 90 percent – or 1,970,000 – of Michigan’s children will benefit from this year’s improvements. The enhanced child tax credit is also fully available to families with the lowest incomes – or those who earn no income – for the first time this year, which is expected to reduce child poverty by 44% across the country. State, including 52% for Latino children. and 43 percent for black children.

This credit provides money to families that can help pay for groceries, shelter, children’s clothing, child care, doctor’s visits and prescription costs, ultimately benefiting savings and to the local businesses where they live.

With ARPA, our leaders in Washington rose to the challenge of a one-in-a-lifetime crisis with historic and transformational investments. Expanding credit not only serves to help counter the economic impact of the pandemic, but it will also help combat the scourge of child poverty and economic insecurity – a lingering problem in Lansing, Michigan and across Canada. across the United States.

Michigan League for Public Policy 2021 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released last month shows child poverty in Ingham County in 2019 (the most recent year available) was 17.6%. Although this is an improvement from 2010, the rate is still too high, and we have yet to see what the impact of the pandemic has been on child poverty.

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In addition, the data collection revealed that 42.9% of households in Ingham County were in poverty or ALICE (limited active, limited income, employed). ALICE represents households that are above the federal poverty line, but whose income is not sufficient to afford a “survival budget” based on the minimum cost of basic necessities.

Sadly, the struggles of Michigan’s children and families predated the pandemic and will continue long afterward unless we make real, positive change.

These improvements to the child tax credit are a good start, but Congress has a real opportunity to improve the long-term prospects of children for generations to come by making them permanent.

Senator Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters have already approved the permanent expansion of the Federal Working Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and we hope their colleagues in Congress will join them in passing legislation. in the coming months for this purpose.

For more information on credit, parents and advocates can visit or contact the local Volunteer Tax Assistance office at 866-561-2500.

Alex Rossman is the director of external affairs for the Michigan League for Public Policy.

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