New Report: Congress must expand the Child Tax Credit, or risk 627,000 Pennsylvania children being pushed into poverty or greater hardship

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HARRISBURG, PA – Congress has a real chance in the Lame Duck session to prevent greater hardship for the 627,000 Pennsylvania children who lost out after a recent expansion of the Child Tax Credit was allowed to lapse, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Last year’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit, giving millions of low-income families with kids a boost and driving child poverty down to a record low. But Congress allowed the Child Tax Credit expansion to lapse this year, and if it fails to act now, 19 million children across the country risk being pushed into poverty or facing greater hardship. Children from Black, Latino, and American Indian families are disproportionately likely to risk falling behind.

Yet, as Congress considers its priorities for the end-of-year spending package, special interests are pushing for more tax breaks for profitable corporations — even as families in the Keystone State face rising costs. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is urging the Pennsylvania delegation to put kids and families first, not corporate tax breaks.

“Rising costs have coincided with rising profits for corporations, while families with low incomes struggle to keep up,” said Jeff Garis, Federal Campaigns and Program Director for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. “Congress must put families first. Our lawmakers should not even consider tax breaks for wealthy corporations without first taking care of families by expanding the Child Tax Credit.”

The Child Tax Credit if a proven-effective program that helps families with children by providing more money in their pocket when they file their taxes. That’s more money to help meet rising costs and cover basics, such as housing, food, medicine, clothes, and school supplies.

But a flaw in the credit’s design leaves kids in the lowest-income families behind by giving them only a partial credit or no credit at all, even as children in wealthier families receive the full benefit. By correcting this flaw, the ARP lifted millions of the poorest kids out of poverty.

Poverty and the hardships that come with it, such as unstable housing and hunger, can take a heavy toll on children, such as lower levels of educational attainment and poorer health and reduced incomes in adulthood.

“The success of the 2021 Child Tax Credit expansion showed us that high child poverty rates are a policy choice, not an inevitability,” said Chuck Marr, CBPP’s Vice President for Federal Tax Policy and author the report. “All kids deserve a fair shot at success, no matter their race or parents’ income. The choice before Congress this year is simple: They can act, or they can see millions of children fall back into poverty.”

The 99% Pennsylvania is a campaign convened by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, calling on Congress to take action to advance the well-being of the vast majority of Americans. It’s time for Congress to do something for the rest of us—the 99%.

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, 412 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 | 717-255-7156

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