On the heels of a promising poverty report, there are renewed calls to make permanent certain pandemic policies that helped struggling families in both Iowa and Minnesota and around the country. Last week, an annual Census Bureau report showed that child poverty fell sharply last year to a record low of five-point-two percent. Arloc Sherman, with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says that was largely fueled by the temporary expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit. He notes other census information revealed monthly payments from the credit helped eligible households meet basic needs.
But the expanded credit expired, and Sherman predicts an uptick in poverty this year if Congress doesn’t revisit the issue. In Minnesota, the Children’s Defense Fund urges the Legislature to use surplus money to create a separate state Child Tax Credit. Opponents say expanding government spending long-term will contribute to more inflation woes, hurting family budgets.
But Sherman argues global supply-chain issues and other factors are playing a role in the current inflation problem. And he says if future investments are geared more for low-income families, rather than the large pandemic relief bills, they shouldn’t register negative economic waves. Instead, he says it would help the country down the road.
He says moving forward with this blueprint will result in better outcomes for kids, building on some of the progress that was seen even prior to the pandemic. In Congress, lawmakers who support reviving the Child Tax Credit are looking for new opportunities to negotiate, including pending changes to certain business tax breaks.