Expanded Child Tax Credit Needs to Be Restored to Reduce Poverty Rate
To the Editor:
The good news is that the child poverty rate in Mercer County has been gradually declining over the last several years. A recent HomeFront presentation at Labyrinth Books showcased what they have been doing to provide housing and other supportive services that reduce poverty for children and families in Mercer County. In addition to their efforts and those of governmental and private groups locally and throughout the county, 2021 saw an even more dramatic drop in the child poverty rate. What led to this significant change was a short-term expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC).
With increased allotments, wider coverage, and payments distributed each month, the CTC helped cover such basic monthly expenses as food, rent, and utilities. As a result, it raised an estimated 89,000 New Jersey children from poverty and cut child poverty rates nationwide by over 40 percent.
When the expanded CTC expired a year ago, however, child poverty again rose. The watch words of HomeFront are “helping families break the cycle of poverty.” In order to do that we need the collaborative efforts of the federal and state governments, local municipalities, and the private sector.
The expanded CTC needs to be restored. There is still an opportunity before the end of this year. If Congress tries to extend tax breaks for wealthy corporations, New Jersey members of Congress should follow the lead of Representatives Watson-Coleman and Kim to reject corporate tax cuts unless an expanded, monthly CTC is included. With such proven results to lift our children out of poverty, how can they do no less?
Viburnum Court, Lawrenceville
The writers are volunteers with RESULTS (results.org), an advocacy group that has been committed to ending poverty for over 40 years.