Opinion: Help America’s kids by giving their parents cash

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When federal lawmakers expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2021 as part of President Joe Biden Nearly 35 million parents across the United States began receiving hundreds of dollars each month.

With expanded credit, non-working and ultra-poor families have Almost. 3 million children As a result, they are out of poverty, and Families used the money. To help pay for gas, food and school expenses.

But the Democrats later failed to approve the extension of this program – the cost of 100 billion dollars a year and carried Senator Joe Manchin. He wanted to see the job criteria. Restored – The federal CTC has returned to its pre-Covid form, with a maximum of $2,000 per child for working families only. According to economists at Columbia University, making the expanded federal credit permanent a More than 10 times return on investmentMeasured in terms of increased future tax revenue and less future spending health care, Criminal justiceAdopted and Other welfare programs.

But state governments have since used the success of the federal experiment to advance their own versions of the subsidy. Since the expiration of the expanded federal CTC, 11 states have passed or expanded their own child tax credit for families earning $0, or what is called a “refundable” policy. The subsidy ranges from $180 per child (in Massachusetts) to $1,750 per child (in Minnesota).

The new child tax credits passed in states that currently hold Democratic majorities, but in Policies At the state level, it is much less polarized compared to the Congress. An Analysis of the new laws According to the Jane Family Institute, a progressive think tank, an average of 40% of Republican state senators and 30% of Republican state representatives voted for fully refundable child tax credits.

All of these pieces of legislation are good for families—especially since the likelihood of expanding the child loan is relatively high once it’s established. Six of the 11 states with a refundable child tax credit have expanded their subsidy rates or eligibility, according to the Janet Institute. Furthermore, even modest child tax credits have been shown to make real differences.

While these new policies are important, advocates say there are ways to improve child tax credits even more.

If more states create or expand child tax credits, one option would be to end benefits currently geared toward high-income earners. States can also work to ensure that their policies are as inclusive as possible for families where parents or children are not US citizens. Most states allow parents with individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) to receive benefits, but IINs themselves are not always easy for families to obtain, and states may devise other ways to verify residency for children.

Another way to improve the effectiveness of state CTCs is by expanding their reach among those who are already eligible – through awareness campaigns that could benefit beneficiaries, or administrative tax reforms that make it easier to apply for assistance. The Jane Institute suggests using data from other welfare programs, such as SNAP and Medicaid, to alert parents to eligibility for new state programs.

The bipartisan growth in the refundable child tax credit at the state level is a silver lining to the federal government’s failure to extend the generous credit during the pandemic. Although in Washington, D.C., advocates and federal lawmakers still have their sights set on upgrading the federal CTC, due in part to Trump-era tax cuts that expire in 2025. Expand the federal CTC to make it more generous and, without further federal action, the already reduced child tax credit. It will further decrease to pre-2017 levels. But members of Congress have shown interest in working together on the federal loan. I think we find many areas of agreement and learn from each other. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo., during a subcommittee hearing this summer.

Rachel Cohen He is Vox’s senior policy reporter focusing on American social policy. Based in Washington, DC, she closely follows the politics that influence policy development and the leaders, activists, and researchers who drive those ideas.

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