Child welfare advocates are making a case for a permanent Connecticut child tax credit. Findings of a new study by the Child advocacy group Voices for Children says a permanent child tax credit would help ease financial burdens for low- and moderate-income families.
It comes in the midst of a push for state lawmakers to take up the issue during the current legislative session.
In making a case for why Connecticut should establish a permanent child tax credit,Shira Markoff, senior policy fellow at D.C.-based low-income advocacy nonprofit Prosperity Now, said a reliable child tax credit would allow families financial flexibility where other state and federal aid lacks.
When the federal child tax credit was expanded during the height of the pandemic, there was a marked dip in impoverished children, according to Markoff.
“We saw that child poverty was nearly cut in half from 2020 to 2021 and food insecurity was reduced,” Markoff said. “Families were spending the bulk of their funds on their basic needs and paying down debt and that results were particularly strong for Black and Latina families.”
A permanent child tax credit creates financial flexibility for qualified families, Markoff said.
“Having a CTC, especially a fully refundable one, would give that influx of unrestricted cash that families can use to do whatever they feel is most important,” she said.
Connecticut had a temporary child tax credit for qualifying low-income families. The program was funded by COVID relief dollars and expired in 2021.
The temporary credit provided income-qualified families a rebate of up to a maximum of $750, or $250 per child up to three children.
Credit recipients often use the funds to go toward basic needs, including housing. Alongside a permanent state credit, advocates say housing needs to be made more affordable.
In the long term, Connecticut needs to increase housing supply and make it easier for tax credit recipients to access affordable options, State Representative Jason Rojas said.
“I think we need to invest more in rental assistance programs and while we do that, my first point stands true, we actually need places for those people to actually use rental assistance or a housing choice voucher,” Rojas said.
While the pandemic-era child tax credit provided tremendous family support, its lapse contributed to a 7 percent increase in Connecticut child poverty.
Federally, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the child tax credit to $2,000 and made limits to the refundable amount of up to $1,400 per child.
Similar to statewide credits, the federal child tax credit was temporarily increased during the height of the pandemic.
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