We know that refundable tax credits make a difference in working families’ lives every day. The boost in income that refundable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) provide to families lifts those families out of poverty and improves children’s outcomes in terms of health, education, future employment, and much more. So any tax proposal that purports to help working families, especially those struggling most to make ends meet, should focus on improving tax credits for families. But the House’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” only offered a measly improvement to the CTC that is not refundable — and thus leaves out 1 in 7 children in working families across the country.
Yesterday, Senators Bennet and Brown showed Republicans how to really help struggling families with an improved CTC. Senator Bennet’s American Family Act of 2017 would triple the CTC, make it refundable from the first dollar of earnings to help the lowest-income families, and provide the credit in monthly payments to help families throughout the year. This bill is estimated to cut child poverty in half. And Senator Brown’s Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2017 would make the CTC more valuable for families with children under age 6, to reflect the higher costs of raising young very children (as well as increasing the EITC for workers who do not claim children for the credit). Along with improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (including by making it refundable and more generous to help families with the high cost of child care) and the EITC, Senators Bennet and Brown’s Child Tax Credit improvement proposals are a model for the kind of tax policy that we should be seeing from Republicans – not tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations that will be paid for on the backs of working families.