by Kathryn Carley, Commonwealth News Service
Massachusetts is on track to become the eighteenth state this year to enact targeted tax credits to help alleviate childhood poverty.
New polling shows nearly 80% of residents support an expansion of the Child Tax Credit to $600 per dependent over the next three years.
Pedro Morillas, state campaign director for the Economic Security Project, said the policy has strong bipartisan support, and lawmakers should capitalize on it.
“Bigger is better,” Morillas asserted. “As the Massachusetts Legislature is considering what to do this session they should really push to make this as generous and as expansive of a credit as they can.”
A temporary expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit during the pandemic helped cut childhood poverty nearly in half.
Parents said the tax credit helped cover their most basic needs, like paying for rent and child care, even buying diapers or food.
Sindy Thomas, a stay-at-home parent in Boston, said the cash she received was life-changing, allowing her to purchase a used car to drive her four children to school and doctors’ appointments.
“Sometimes one of them gets sick and is in the hospital, so it’s hard to leave there, like, late in the night and to get a bus to come home,” Thomas explained. “Just being able to get around more freely.”
Thomas added she was even able to take her kids to Six Flags for the first time. More than 100 community organizations and institutions in the Commonwealth have called on lawmakers to prioritize children by advancing the $600 Child Tax Credit, and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit to help hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers.