Child tax credit: First payments hit bank accounts Thursday

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Thursday, parents will start seeing hundreds of dollars hit their bank accounts as the expanded Child Tax Credit is distributed to the majority of American families.

Payments of $250 for every child under 17 years old and $300 for children under six years old will be distributed for the final six months of 2021.

“Parents [can] get the chance to take a breath,” said Monique Marez, director of the Pueblo Food Project. “We have a lot of families that are food insecure. We have a lot of areas in our community that are off the food grid, so access is not easy.”

Marez works with the families that the tax credit is targeted to help: families below the poverty line.

“Pueblo has a lot of need. We have a lot of resilience and a lot of tenacity, but there’s also a lot of need.” Marez said.

The tax credit is projected to bring around 10 million children above or close to the poverty line, according to projections from U.S. Senate Democrats.

“We don’t have to accept the fact that this country has one of the highest child poverty rates of any country in the industrialized world,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat representing Colorado.

For single filers making up to $112,500 and joint filers of up to $150,000, the full payments will be allocated. The payments cap at $2,000 for single filers making $200,000 or joint filers making $400,000.

“It just puts money in the pockets of families who can make the decision how to spend it themselves,” Bennet said.

Bennet first introduced the expanded child tax credit in 2017 as one of the main co-sponsors. It was passed on a temporary basis in the spring of this year as part of the American Rescue Plan. The payments will expire at the end of the year.

Bennet, however, wants to make the payments permanent.

“Childhood poverty costs this country about a trillion dollars per year, and I think we’re a lot better off making a modest investment on the front end to get kids out of poverty, than trying to mitigate the effects of poverty on the back end,” Bennet said.

The payments come as the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress try to pass an infrastructure bill pegged over $1 trillion and a budget proposal that is also north of $3 trillion. Bennet says there will be pay-fors for those bills introduced in the next few weeks and will likely target the highest earners, not benefiting from the child tax credit expansion.

“We’ve had a history of cutting taxes for wealthy people and not paying for it, and I think it’s long past time that we give working families and working people a tax cut,” Bennet said.

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