Area Congressional members and residents are excited about the newly expanded child tax credit payments that started hitting mailboxes in mid-July. The program’s popularity among working class families has some lawmakers pushing to make it permanent.
The expanded child tax credits were issued thanks, in part, to the American Rescue Plan and the funding it set aside to help families and children. Eligible taxpayers started as early as mid-July seeing the added $300 payments, increasing the total benefit to $3,600 per child per month.
Impact of Child Tax Credits
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said she has received positive feedback from residents of her district about the monthly payments and the impact to be realized.
“I think there’s so many families who are grateful to be getting this tax cut and that they understand the impact of it,” Underwood said.
Underwood said it is important to get people back to work and that it goes hand-in-hand with helping families afford the items that they need in order to allow a return to normal.
“We are working to grow the economy and we are working at a macro level to build a stronger middle class,” she said. “When we are helping working families get their money back to be able to support their kids, it’s extremely important. When we talk about recovering from the pandemic, this kind of economic policy has been a big hit.”
North Aurora resident Dana Merk said she is appreciative of what the child tax credits aim to accomplish.
“I think the tax credit just makes working families feel more seen,” Merk said.
Merk said she’s already put her first payment to use toward swimming and music lessons and a little bit of travel expenses. Merk said the money essentially went toward “things to enrich the children’s lives”, which she said is important.
Woodridge resident Colleen Zavodny said the timing of the newly expanded child tax credit rollout couldn’t be more on point. Zavodny, who is a single mother, said she’s felt the economic impact of the pandemic and the child tax credit is helpful in that regard.
“I work at the YWCA, but I also serve on the weekends to help pay for child care costs because they are so high,” Zavodny said. “Obviously, the restaurant industry was greatly impacted by COVID-19. With restaurants being shut down, so that drastically had an impact on my income.”
Zavodny said she will use the payments to pay for school supplies and after school program fees.
“Child care is an underinvested field and it’s very expensive,” she said. “These payments definitely help offset the cost for me.”
Reinvestment in Workforce
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, acknowledged that many of the first individuals to leave the workforce during the pandemic were women with children and said he is hopeful they’ll be able to return thanks, in part, to the expanded child tax credit payments.
“It goes a long way towards treating child care in a way that is consistent with how we treat the rest our education system,” Casten said.
The impact of the child tax credit payments will be felt greatly by many, including those in Illinois’ Congressional 6th District, which Casten said prompts him to be “hard-pressed to think of any other thing he could do as a member of Congress that has such a real tangible impact.”
Funding in Question
The initiative, while popular among many, has an uncertain future.
The newly expanded child tax credits are fully funded for one year, officials said. After which, it remains unclear what, if any, funding could be earmarked for the program.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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