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Boosting Families: States to Expand Child Tax Credits in 2024 as Anti-Poverty Measure

In the face of rising prices for essentials like food and rent, coupled with the gradual phasing out of federal pandemic aid, many Americans found their pocketbooks taking a hit this year. 

However, a glimmer of relief emerged from the success story of the expanded federal child tax credit, prompting several states to take matters into their own hands. 

State-Specific Initiatives Making a Difference

Enacted in 2021, the federal child tax credit proved to be a crucial tool in combating child poverty, cutting rates in half before its expiration at the end of that year. Unfortunately, as the credit expired, poverty rates surged once again.

In response, a growing number of states have taken inspiration from this federal initiative and enacted their own permanent child tax credits.

Ashley Andreas from White River Junction, Vt., shares her experience of unexpectedly discovering Vermont’s new $1,000 child tax credit when filing her tax return. 

For families like hers, facing the challenges of high child care costs and unexpected expenses, the credit proved to be a significant financial boost. While $1,000 may not seem like a substantial amount, for many families, it means the ability to afford extracurricular activities and quality experiences for their children.

As of now, 14 states have introduced their own child tax credits, with 10 of them either creating or expanding the benefit in 2023. Some states have extended the credit to include immigrants, even those without legal status, in an effort to support essential workers, such as migrant workers in Vermont’s dairy industry. New York recently expanded its credit to cover children under age 4, demonstrating a commitment to assisting families during the early years of child rearing.

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Diverse State Approaches to Tax Credits

In the face of rising prices for essentials like food and rent, coupled with the gradual phasing out of federal pandemic aid, many Americans found their pocketbooks taking a hit this year.

State tax credits vary widely in terms of eligibility and amounts. Vermont, for example, offers the full credit to households making up to $125,000, with partial credit available up to $175,000. On the other hand, Minnesota sets a limit for single filers and couples filing jointly, with the country’s largest credit at $1,750 per child under 18. Advocates emphasize that these state-specific credits are essential in addressing the unique economic challenges faced by each region.

Surprisingly, even in states with varying political affiliations, there has been bipartisan support for child tax credits. Advocates argue that these initiatives benefit working families, and the recent success of state-level programs demonstrates a willingness to put aside political differences for the greater good. The hope is that these state measures will inspire further federal action.

As more states introduce child tax credits, there is a concerted effort to ensure that eligible families are aware of these benefits. Many qualifying families may not be accustomed to filing tax returns, as they do not earn enough to owe taxes. Advocacy groups and state agencies are actively working to spread awareness and encourage eligible families to claim their credits in 2024.

The rise of state-specific child tax credits represents a proactive response to the economic challenges faced by American families. While these credits may not match the scale of the federal initiative, they are making a tangible difference in the lives of countless families. 

As states continue to refine and expand their programs, the hope is that the combined efforts at both state and federal levels will provide comprehensive support to families in need.

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