In Congress, the second expansion of the Child Tax Credit is expected to provide some Connecticut families with much-needed help and one local organization hopes it’s only a first step.
The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities reported the new tax credit would benefit 16-million low-income children nationally in its first year, including 119,000 in Connecticut.
Emily Byrne, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, said state action could build on the federal progress.
“We are calling for the General Assembly to enact and fund a Child Tax Credit for Connecticut residents,” Byrne stated. “This can range from $250 to $600 per child, per year.”
Connecticut is one of a few states with no child tax credit or exemption. Legislation to create a state credit was brought before the General Assembly in 2022, and failed in committee, although a state Child Tax Rebate was enacted during the pandemic.
A United Way of Connecticut report found around 80% of eligible families applied for the rebate between June and July 2022.
Byrne argued the General Assembly could do more to help families with the high cost of living. In particular, she noted ‘just cause’ eviction protections, building more affordable housing, and making early childhood education more affordable all need to be prioritized. She noted a multipronged approach would be the most effective way to counter child poverty.
“It’s not just one or two policies that we should be trying to advance,” Byrne stressed. “It needs to be a patchwork of policies that really address poverty, in Connecticut and across the country.”
The problem of housing has lingered in Connecticut, beginning long before the pandemic. Between 2005 and 2021, the percentage of rent inflation exceeded median household income in the state.