Parents, advocates urge Connecticut lawmakers to pass permanent child tax credit

On Monday, parents asked state lawmakers to create a permanent tax credit. But the idea could be a hard sell with Republicans – and even Gov. Ned Lamont.

John Craven

Dec 12, 2022, 10:22 PM

Updated 488 days ago

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If you have kids, you probably got a tax rebate check from the state of Connecticut this year. On Monday, parents asked state lawmakers to create a permanent tax credit. But the idea could be a hard sell with Republicans – and even Gov. Ned Lamont.
With soaring inflation, groceries are more expensive than ever. Just ask Krystal Williams, a single parent from New Haven.
"Rent is up hundreds of dollars," she said. "It is absolutely ridiculous. And everything is increasing -- except income."
At a forum Monday morning, Williams urged legislators to create a permanent child tax credit.
This fall, most Connecticut families received up to $750 in one-time rebate checks. The United Way of Connecticut told lawmakers that the money makes a big difference.
"A full month of food, just under a month of housing costs, or a month's worth of transportation," said United Way president and CEO Lisa Tepper Bates.
According to a 2018 study from the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute, a week after families received a child tax refund, they spent 60% more on health care. That increased spending continued for 75 days, the study found.
"That means that, when people are getting more money, they are spending it on the things that they need – like going to the dentist, going to the doctor, and paying off past medical bills," said Tiffany Donelson, president of the Connecticut Health Foundation.
Many Democrats, including state Comptroller-elect Sean Scanlon, want to create a $600 per child tax credit. Only three other states have no income tax credit for parents, according to Scanlon.
But, as in years past, a child tax credit faces an uphill battle at the state Capitol.
Republicans favor even deeper tax relief for everyone, not just parents. Instead of a credit that taxpayers have to claim, GOP lawmakers have pitched an across-the-board 1% drop in the state income tax rate.
"There are many people in Connecticut who need our help," said state Rep. Holly Cheeseman (R-East Lyme), the top Republican on the legislature's Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. "We need to look at the best way to help as many of them, in the fairest way, as possible … as we craft a way forward that doesn't leave people out. You know, as some in my party say, 'doesn't pick winners and losers,' but is really broad based."
Lamont is lukewarm on both parties' ideas. Previously, the governor has said he will only support tax changes that protect the state's Rainy Day Fund in case a recession hits.
But Krystal Williams believes doing nothing could cost even more.
"I think the result of not increasing the tax credit would result in a lot of families being hungry, homeless, and kind of hopeless," she said.
Families could soon get extra help from Washington. An expanded child tax credit expired this year, but POLITICO reports that the White House is now willing to consider a work requirement in order to get a deal done.


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