Public Assets Institute > Policy Areas > Family Economic Security > Vermont needs to make a real, ongoing commitment to our kids

Vermont needs to make a real, ongoing commitment to our kids

We saw first-hand how the expanded 2021 federal child tax credit (CTC) reduced child poverty in the country. The additional income to families from refundable state credits like CTCs has also been shown to improve child development and educational outcomes and boost local economies. Seeking these benefits for the state, the Vermont House initiated a state CTC earlier this legislative session for kids six and under. But the state Senate has cut back the House bill and would end the credit in 2025.

In order to lower the price tag, the Senate’s version of the CTC, passed last week, would help fewer children and families than the House plan. The Senate reduced the amount of the credit, disqualified six-year-olds, and lowered the income threshold for qualifying families, cutting nearly 10,000 kids from the benefits of the credit.

The Senate also added a three-year sunset in its version of the CTC, concerned that a recession three years out might squeeze state finances. Regardless of the health of the Vermont economy or the credit’s positive impacts on children, families, and the state, under the Senate plan the credit would be available only through 2024, erasing future benefits. That makes no sense.

We have seen the downstream impacts of children growing up in poverty, including increased health problems and low academic achievement. And we have seen the costly social responses needed to address the consequences of child poverty, like the need for increased investment in our schools. With unprecedented federal aid at its disposal, the state should be using this opportunity to boldly invest in children and families now to take pressure off other state costs in the future.

As House and Senate lawmakers negotiate details of the child tax credit in conference committee next week, they should stay focused on Vermont’s kids and the big benefits to their lives and to the state provided in the House’s more expansive and permanent CTC. It’s time to make the real ongoing commitment to Vermont’s children.

Posted by Julie Lowell on May 6, 2022 at 1:28 pm

One Response to “Vermont needs to make a real, ongoing commitment to our kids”

  1. Rita Pitkin says:

    Yes! Children are the future. Let’s help them as much as we can.