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Connecticu­t must create a permanent child tax credit

- By Lisa Tepper Bates Lisa Tepper Bates is president and CEO of United Way of Connecticu­t.

Gov. Ned Lamont has set an important goal for our state: making Connecticu­t the most family- friendly state in America. We agree that it’s time to take action to invest in our families. Creating a permanent, fully refundable Connecticu­t child tax credit of $600 per child is an important, high-impact step to support our families.

Creating a permanent CTC is as much about boosting our economy as it is about supporting families. Our state economy has suffered with more than 100,000 job openings persistent­ly unfillable for months. That’s in no small part because our working-age population is shrinking: the most recent census report showed that between 2000 and 2022, our working-age population (people between 20 and 49) fell by 5.6 percent. A permanent CTC would help keep working-aged people (usually those with young children) here in Connecticu­t and help draw new young families to our state to bolster our workforce.

Connecticu­t is a wonderful state for families, with our high-quality public schools and libraries, good employers, and so much to explore — including local parks, mountains, woods, lakes, rivers and the Sound. However, raising a child in Connecticu­t is more expensive than almost anywhere else in the country. We consistent­ly rank among the top 10 most expensive states for housing, and among the five most expensive states for child care.

This economic stress falls disproport­ionately on women and families of color: 57 percent of Connecticu­t’s Black households, 63 percent of Hispanic, and 73 percent of single-female headed households with children struggle at or below the United Ways’ of Connecticu­t ALICE (AssetLimit­ed, Income-Constraine­d, Employed) threshold of the income needed to live in Connecticu­t, based on real local cost data.

Connecticu­t families’ budgets are further stretched given recent and substantia­l reductions in federal benefits. From July to December 2021, the now-expired enhanced federal child tax credit provided most low- and middleinco­me households payments of up to $3,600 per child. The 2021 enhanced federal child and dependent care credit, which provided a fully refundable tax credit of up to $4,000 per child, was not renewed. That’s thousands of dollars in additional income per child that our families will not have in 2023 to help make ends meet.

It’s time to create a permanent child tax credit in Connecticu­t to support our families and children and to make a sound investment to grow our workforce. It will pay dividends for years to come.

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