Pages tagged "Tax Policy"
The area’s steady increase in child poverty (“Belvidere School District’s poverty rate climbs for fourth straight year,” Aug. 26) is alarming. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit lift nearly 5 million children out of poverty every year. Both bipartisan credits reward hard work. And both put money back into Illinois’ economy, helping parents buy food, clothes, and other basics from local merchants.
Yet both will expire in their current forms at the end of this year, and with elections just a few months away, politicians are focused elsewhere. Illinois leaders in Congress need to hear that they must protect these lifelines for working families. Their decisions will determine whether child poverty gets better or worse. And, for Rockford kids and America’s future, there is no more important choice.
Bruce Lesley, president, First Focus Campaign for Children
H.R. 6181, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by lead sponsor Congressman Richard Neal (MA-2), would extend critical, but expiring, improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through 2013. This bill will preserve these key credits for 13 million families and 26 million children nationwide.
On July 24, 2012, First Focus Campaign for Children endorsed legislation by Congressman Richard Neal (MA-2) to extend critical, but expiring, improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit for one year. Together, the improved version of these credits kept close to 5 million children from falling into poverty in 2010 alone. This bill will preserve these key credits for 13 million families and 26 million children nationwide.
Washington — The First Focus Campaign for Children today endorsed a bill by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) to extend key provisions of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through 2013. If passed, the bill would continue federal tax credits for 13 million working families, affecting 26 million children.
“This legislation is critically important for kids. The Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit in 2010 prevented 5 million kids from falling into poverty,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
Neal’s legislation would extend recent improvements to these family tax credits that will otherwise end in 2012. This includes preventing a nearly $10,000 increase in the qualifying income threshold for CTC, ensuring that the lowest income families still have access to the tax credit. The bill would also prevent the CTC from being cut in half for 10 million children, and would continue to allow families with three or more children to receive a larger EITC, because of increased financial need.
“More than one-in-five US children already lives below the poverty line. Refusing to extend these provisions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit will only increase the number of kids in poverty,” said Lesley.
Virtually all of those affected by Neal’s bill are families earning less than $50,000 per year. In 2013, this bill could save 13 million working families an average of $843, which for many is a rent or mortgage payment. The CTC and EITC also have strong links to child well-being. Children who receive them do better in school and, as adults, work more hours and have higher lifetime earnings.
Comparable provisions have been included in a broader tax extenders package (S. 3412) scheduled for Senate floor consideration this week. Neal’s proposal, however, is the only one that focuses solely on family tax credits.
“We need to make children a priority in the tax debate and extend the tax credits that help 26 million kids,” said Lesley.
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This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court ruling, a statute that embodies our belief as Americans that all children should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. The ruling established that every child, regardless of their immigration status, is entitled to a public K-12 education. Specifically, the ruling deemed it unconstitutional to discriminate against children “on the basis of a legal characteristic over which children have little control”—namely their immigration status—and also observed that restrictive education policies would ultimately lead to “the creation and perpetuation of a subclass” within our society. In short, the ruling confirmed that children should not be punished for circumstances beyond their control and that investing in our children is key to our country’s future.
Unfortunately, over the past few months these common sense principles of fairness and opportunity seem to have been lost in what can only be described as targeted attacks against a growing segment of the child population—children of immigrants. In Alabama, thousands of families pulled their children out of school last fall after the passage of HB56 despite the fact that the law’s immigration documentation requirements are a direct violation of the Plyler statute.
At the federal level, recent proposals by Senator Vitter and Senator Rubio seek to prevent immigrant parents who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from claiming the Child Tax Credit, a policy change that would directly harm up to 5.5 million children, more than 80 percent of whom are U.S. citizens.
And just last week, Senator Sessions introduced a proposal that would deny the very same population of children access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Around the country our children are suffering, and the attacks need to stop.
The fact is that children do not live in isolation from their parents, so anyone who tries to argue that these proposals are directed solely at parents is ignoring the obvious. Let’s be very clear: millions of innocent children will ultimately pay the price if these proposals are implemented. For instance, restricting eligibility for the Child Tax Credit would put millions of children at risk of falling into poverty at a time when the U.S. child poverty rate is at a 20-year high. In fact, immigrant families with an annual income of $21,000 would lose an average of $1,800 a year—money that is often spent on basic necessities like rent, clothing, and food. Furthermore, the SNAP proposal by Senator Sessions would literally take the food out of the mouths of hungry children—up to 4.5 million kids, all of whom are U.S. citizens.
The bottom line is that our future as a country depends on whether we stand up for our children today, regardless of race, class, gender, or immigration status. Children of immigrants now comprise 1 in 4 U.S. children, and will also be
our future voters, community leaders, and workers. Thus, it is critical that we hold our policymakers accountable for pushing irresponsible policies at the state or federal level that would deny any segment of our child population from the resources they need to grow and thrive.
In America, we simply don’t punish children because of their circumstances or who their parents are. Just as we will not deny any child access to an education, we likewise should not deny any child access to food or shelter. The anniversary of the Plyler v. Doe ruling should serve as a reminder that it is in our best interest to ensure the dignity and success of every single child.
This post also appears on MomsRising.org.
This ad ran in the Lexington Herald-Leader’s influential political blog, Bluegrass Politics, during the weeks immediately before and following Kentucky's 2012 presidential primary election. We partnered with Kentucky Youth Advocates to place the ad, which linked to a page urging policymakers and opinion leaders to support child-friendly tax credits.
Washington — The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Friday, in a prepublication version of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit regulations, signaled that future ACA rulemakings will address concerns raised by advocates for children and families about the affordability of employer-sponsored health insurance for children and spouses. The First Focus Campaign for Children and more than 100 other national and state advocates sent a letter in early March, urging the agency to fix a provision of the draft rule. That provision would determine whether an employer-sponsored health plan is affordable for an entire family based on the costs of coverage for the individual employee only, disregarding additional costs of family coverage. Because family coverage averages nearly triple the average cost of individual coverage, IRS’ initial proposal would have the effect of denying tax credits, and therefore affordable care, to employees’ spouses and children. In response to Friday’s news, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the Treasury Department is continuing to consider the significant feedback they heard from advocates across the nation which calls on the Administration to deliver on the promise of affordable health care for every American family. We are hopeful that when the final rules are written, the Administration will not leave families with children high and dry.”
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It was encouraging to read "State poverty drops in recession, study finds," that federal initiatives such as SNAP (formerly food stamps), Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (BadgerCare in Wisconsin), child care and tax credits for working families are protecting Wisconsin families from the recession's worst consequences (JSOnline, April 25).
It makes me ask: Why does the U.S. House budget plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cut all of them?
We're a kids' advocacy group, and kids have a lot at stake in this debate. The Ryan budget makes hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to children's health, and legislative packages required by the budget already have proposed billions more in cuts to SNAP (about half of which serves kids) and child care, as well as changes that would deny 5.5 million kids the Child Tax Credit.
Politicians always say they want government to work. The study proved what Wisconsin parents have known for years - that investments in kids pay off every day. So let's tell Ryan and his colleagues to stop pointing fingers and protect the investments that protect Wisconsin kids and families.
President, First Focus Campaign for Children
This ad ran in the Raleigh News & Observer’s influential political blog, Under the Dome, during the weeks immediately before and following North Carolina's 2012 presidential primary election. We partnered with Action for Children of North Carolina to place the ad, which linked to a page urging policymakers and opinion leaders to support child-friendly tax credits.
Washington – A coalition of 102 national and state advocates today sent a letter urging President Barack Obama and congressional leadership to fix a problem with the U.S. Treasury Department’s interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health care reform law that, if uncorrected, could deny affordable health care to hundreds of thousands of children and spouses.
“The ACA’s intent is clear – make health care affordable. Legal wrangling shouldn’t stand in the way of that common-sense goal,” said First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC) President Bruce Lesley.
The ACA makes some families eligible for tax credits to make private, employer-sponsored health insurance more affordable, and it bases eligibility on the family’s income and the cost of the insurance. But Treasury Department draft regulations implementing the ACA consider the cost of insuring the employee alone, instead of the cost of family coverage. While individual-only employer-sponsored health insurance costs average around $5,400 a year, annual costs for family coverage average $15,000 – nearly triple. As a result, this “Families Glitch” would likely deny tax credits to, and therefore leave health insurance unaffordable for, hundreds of thousands of children, as well as their non-employee parents.
“As a dad, I’d never build a groceries budget just for me – my wife and the kids eat too. We should expect at least that level of financial planning sophistication from the Treasury Department,” said Lesley.
The letter was signed by 42 national advocates for children and families, women, communities of color, educators, low- and moderate-income families, chronic disease patients, health care consumers, and health care providers, as well as 60 state and local advocacy organizations from 32 states. The complete text of the letter and signatories list appears below.
“With the health care of so many children and families hanging in the balance, advocates agree it’s time for politicians on both sides of the aisle to stop pointing fingers and start fixing this problem.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children coordinated the letter. FFCC also sponsored a congressional briefing that showcased new research documenting the human cost of this problem. FFCC staff have raised this problem with Obama Administration officials. Either the Treasury Department or Congress can provide relief to children and families who would be harmed if the Families Glitch goes unresolved.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.