Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Benefits of Expanding Child Tax Credit Outweigh Small Employment Effects

 March 1, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The House-passed COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, would temporarily increase the Child Tax Credit and make the full Child Tax Credit available to all children except those in families with the highest incomes (sometimes called making the credit “fully refundable”). This proposal would markedly reduce the number of children with incomes below the poverty line while narrowing the gap in poverty rates between white children and Black and Latino children. The strong benefits of the proposal far outweigh any potential reduction in employment. Researchers assessing a very similar proposal estimated that more than 99 percent of low- and moderate-income working adults affected by the proposal would remain employed after it takes effect.

For the full analysis, go here

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mitt Romney Has a Plan, and Joe Biden Should Borrow From It

From CLIP co-chair Peter Zurflieh:

"Excellent editorial in the February 24 New York Times about the Democrats' child allowance plan, suggesting they should incorporate some of the features of the Romney plan, like making it permanent and having benefits administered by SSA.   But the rhetoric is clearly moving away from tying assistance to work requirements, which is very encouraging." 



Friday, February 19, 2021

A ‘Refreshing’ Bipartisan Debate on Child Poverty

From Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, February 17

Both parties are advancing serious proposals to reduce child poverty, proposing competing plans that differ on many details but share a central theme: sending monthly aid to families with few restrictions.

At an event on the topic last week sponsored by the Urban Institute, Urban President Sarah Rosen Wartell noted that the mere existence of a real, bipartisan debate about child poverty is notable and welcome in and of itself. “It’s a refreshing change, almost a throwback, to have a substantial debate on policy around a shared goal,” she said.

Read more here

Struggling Pa. families need more support; Lawmakers, Wolf need to boost TANF payments | Opinion

Pennsylvania Capital Star, February 19

Results of a survey of mothers receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash grants. The survey was conducted by Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia. This opinion piece was written by CLS Supervising Attorney Maria Pulzetti.

Background: TANF is the only direct income support for Pennsylvania families in deep poverty.  A family of three with no other income receiving the maximum benefit gets just $403 per month, leaving them at just 22 percent of the federal poverty level.

Benefits have not increased since 1990, even though the cost of living has more than doubled since then. Expenses are even higher during the pandemic: “I have to purchase masks, cleaning supplies and pay extra for internet and phone services,” one respondent said. 

The benefit level, set by Pennsylvania, is insufficient for any family to meet their basic needs. Because of systemic racism and historic disinvestment in Black communities, TANF serves a disproportionately high percentage of Black families: 53 percent of TANF recipients in Pennsylvania are Black. Ignoring the crisis in TANF is ignoring a crisis for Black families.

Here's the whole article:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Law Provides Free IDs to Homeless

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) said that Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness are now able to obtain a free initial photo ID or renewal a photo ID as a result of Act 131 of 2020, which Governor Tom Wolf signed into law in late 2020.

Read the full story

The Plot to Help America’s Children .... And what we can learn from right-wing opposition.

Paul Krugman, New York Times, February 15

Democrats seem ready to enact major economic relief legislation. The package will be big, with a price tag probably close to the Biden administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion. But the bulk of this spending will clearly be temporary. Americans won’t be getting $1,400 checks every year, unemployment benefits won’t always be this generous, we won’t constantly be mobilizing for emergency vaccination programs (or at least we hope not).

There is, however, one piece of the package many progressives hope will become permanent: enhanced aid to families with children. Indeed, there’s an overwhelming economic and social case for providing such aid, in addition to the moral case.

Yet most conservatives seem to be opposed, even though they’re having a notably hard time explaining why. And the fact that they’re against helping children despite their lack of good arguments tells you a lot about why they really oppose aid to those in need.

Learn more here

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

House Ways and Means COVID Relief Bill Includes Critical Expansions of Child Tax Credit and EITC

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Analysis on Upcoming Legislation

Two key tax credit provisions in the COVID relief legislation that the House Ways and Means Committee will consider this week would provide significant help to those on the fault lines of some of the pandemic’s worst economic effects. People who have lower incomes, are Black or Latino, have less than a college education, or work in face-to-face service occupations have long faced barriers to high-paying jobs and opportunity, which the pandemic and its economic fallout have widened. The House bill’s provisions making the full Child Tax Credit available to all children except those with the highest incomes (sometimes called making the credit “fully refundable”), and making an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) available to far more low-paid childless workers, would result in historic reductions of child poverty and provide timely income support for millions of people, including millions of essential workers.

Read the detail here