AR Group Urges Congress to Reinstate Expanded Child Tax Credit

    An Arkansas nonprofit is adding its voice to the calls for Congress to bring back the expanded Child Tax Credit for families in place during the pandemic.

    Danielle Smith

    Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said it could be included in the end-of-year spending package.

    When the expanded Child Tax Credit was in effect, it helped boost millions of families above the Federal Poverty Level, with a few hundred dollars a month per child.

    Bruno Showers, senior policy analyst at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said policymakers have the power to help address childhood poverty once again. And he thinks Congress should not pass corporate tax breaks unless it also expands tax credits for families.

    "The census recently released their poverty measurements, and childhood poverty actually fell to its lowest level ever because of these Child Tax Credits, the expansion," Showers pointed out. "We think that shows that this is an important step to combat child poverty, which we know in Arkansas, in particular, more than one in four children every year are shown to grow up in poverty."

    When it was in effect, the expanded Child Tax Credit provided monthly payments of $250 to $300 per child to families, depending on the child's age. Without the expanded program, an estimated 223,000 kids in Arkansas miss out on the full Child Tax Credit. Opponents in Congress argued the credit contributes to inflation.

    Showers acknowledged inflation is taking a toll on families, and said the Child Tax Credit helps by keeping more money in parents' pockets to spend on necessities. He noted it is up to Congress to make it fully refundable, so even families with low or no income can get the full amount of the credit.

    "Most families in Arkansas use that tax credit to buy food, to pay for utilities, essential bills," Showers explained. " Gas and electric, and also on rent or mortgage payments. So, this really helps families make ends meet, and we think it should be a top priority for Congress."

    He added the bill has bipartisan support, but not enough votes yet. Congress has until Dec. 16 to enact the final spending measure and pass another continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded, or risk a partial government shutdown.

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