For the short time it was here, the Child Tax Credit helped millions of families and children. Although the American Rescue Plan was not the birth of this policy, it reinvigorated and expanded it, allowing more families to qualify. Under President Biden’s legislation, over 61 million children qualified for the 2020 Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty by roughly 30% and reduced food insufficiency in only 6 months. Now, the CTC payments have ended; the last payment was issued to families on December 15, 2021.
All it took to make progress on addressing child poverty and hunger was an additional $300 a month per child (or $250 for older children). Data shows that 91% of the allocated dollars were used on basic needs. When it wasn’t spent on food and shelter, parents used the federal assistance for child care or to pay off debts. There was also no evidence that the additional funds sent to families caused parents to leave the workforce. If anything, the money for child care allowed more parents to get out to work.
While it seems unlikely that the federal government will reinstate the Child Tax Credit, Indiana has the ability to create its own. Senate Democrat leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) proposed a bill this session that would have created a Child Tax Credit program for many Hoosier families. With a proposed amount of $200 to $1000 depending on individual income, recipients would have continued to see the benefits the federal plan provided. Sen. Taylor’s legislation would have made it easier for Hoosier families to afford their bills, food and other household essentials.
The benefits from the expanded Child Tax Credit were widespread and only beginning to show themselves. Indiana must work to bring this program to our Hoosier families. A popular policy for both parties constituents, there is little reason to not push for legislation that helps everyone it touches and has bipartisan grassroots support. This session we will continue working to get language approved that would establish an Indiana Child Tax Credit program for our parents and children.