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Near Miss on Financial Help for More than 100,000 NV Children

August 4, 2008

Las Vegas, NV – Wait until fall. That's the word from supporters of federal legislation that could help tens of thousands of Nevada families. The bill, HR 6049 is called the "Tax Extender," in part, because it extends the federal Child Tax Credit to more families on a temporary basis.

Jon Sasser, statewide coordinator for Legal Services of Nevada, says a family currently needs to earn at least $12,000 a year to earn the tax credit. This proposal would lower it to $8,500.

"In Nevada, that would mean an additional 26,000 kids would be able to take advantage of this program for the first time, and families of another 92,000 would be able to get a larger credit than they are getting today."

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates 13 million U.S. families would get help from the plan. Sasser says most are families in which at least one parent works full-time.

"We're talking about families who are basically below poverty level, and struggling day-to-day - buying gas, paying rent and utilities, which all are going up - so this extra thousand dollars per child, or at least part of that, will be a tremendous help."

Opponents argue that extending the credits, which were created to help defray the costs associated with raising a child, simply cost too much. In last week's vote, a majority of senators voted in favor of the bill, but it fell short of the 60 votes needed to end debate. The legislation also included a range of other measures, such as money for the Highway Trust Fund and clean energy tax credits.

Nevada's vote was split: Senator Harry Reid (D) introduced the Tax Extender bill; Senator John Ensign (R) opposed it.

Michael Clifford/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NV