Child tax credits gain steam in states after federal success: They have been embraced by some legislators on the left and right.

Back • Publication Date: May 19, 2023 • Fiscal & Economics

Lawmakers this year in Maryland, New Mexico, New York and Utah
created or expanded tax credits for families with children to help them
pay the bills. More states could follow in the coming weeks.
A Colorado child tax credit enhancement is close to becoming law, while
legislators are still debating new or expanded credits in Maine,
Minnesota and Massachusetts.

Overall, legislators in 21 states considered child tax credits this year.
That’s an impressive tally, given that the credits were rare until recently,
said Pedro Morillas, state campaigns director for Economic Security
Project, a national organization that advocates for cash tax credits.
“It’s a really big expansion in just one year,” Morillas said.

Both Democratic and Republican state leaders embraced child tax
credits this year, inspired by a 2021 expansion of the federal child tax
credit that cut child poverty rates almost in half. Supporters of statelevel
credits say even small investments can make a difference.

New York’s budget deal extended the state’s child tax credit for children
under age four, a change supporters say will help young families pay for
diapers, groceries and other essentials.

“We have expanded access to approximately 800,000 children in the
state of New York, with an average credit going to a family of about $318
per family,” said Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D), who wants to overhaul New
York’s tax credits for working families. “That is really remarkable.”
Gounardes said that although his plan to combine and enhance New
York’s child tax credit and earned income tax credit didn’t advance this
session, the child tax credit expansion was an important first step.
“I like to view this as a downpayment on the larger goal, which is to
reform our child poverty strategy,” he said.

Not all child credit proposals were successful this year. A Montana House
committee in February tabled Gov. Greg Gianforte’s (R) proposed
$1,200 per-child credits for low- and middle-income families.
Rep. Josh Kassmier (R), sponsor of the bill based on Gianforte’s
proposal, said some Republicans objected to its over $33 million annual
price tag and some Democrats opposed amendments restricting the
credit to families that earn enough money to owe income taxes. Under
the amended version, the state’s poorest children wouldn’t benefit from
the credit.

Kassmier said he is planning to push for child tax credits again next year,
but success will depend on the amount of money lawmakers have to
spend. “It’s all about the budget,” he said. “We don’t know where the
budget is going to be next year.”

Ten states offered child tax last year, according to the Institute on
Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that
advocates for equitable tax policies. The maximum credits ranged from
about $100 per child in Oklahoma to $1,000 per child in Vermont.
New Mexico lawmakers this year increased the state’s maximum child
tax credit from $175 to $600 per child. Maryland lawmakers expanded
eligibility for the state’s $500 credit, allowing families earning $15,000
or less to claim it for children under age 6. Previously, only extremely
low-income families with children with disabilities were eligible.

Two child tax credit bills failed in Connecticut this year, but lawmakers
could still include one in their budget deal, said Emily Byrne, executive
director of Connecticut Voices for Children, a think tank that’s been
advocating for child tax credits in the state.

“We are hopeful that lawmakers understand the value to children and
families, as well as the economy,” she said of child tax credits.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) approved a one-time $250-per-child rebate last
year but didn’t include a child tax credit in his budget plan this year,
Byrne said. Republican lawmakers have proposed a tax deduction for
families with children.

In Arizona, lawmakers rejected Gov. Katie Hobbs’s (D) child tax credit
proposal and instead approved one-time rebates for families with
dependent children. The conservative Arizona Freedom Caucus
championed the rebates, according to the Arizona Republic.

Authors: Sophie Quinton •  Source: Pluribus News • View