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Iowa Kids Benefit from Stimulus Package

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February 17, 2009

Washington D.C. – The latest estimate is that Iowa's share of the federal economic stimulus bill will be $1.9 billion. Rolled into that amount is the state's portion of roughly $142 billion set aside by Congress for the next generation of Americans, to provide key funding for children's programs.

Lana Ross, executive director of the Iowa Community Action Association, says low-income families are the most likely to spend the federal money that comes their way, making them an effective engine for economic stimulus.

"They don't put the money in savings; they don't buy mutual funds. They turn around and spend it, to meet the needs of their children. So, it's a quick turnaround in terms of that money coming back into the economy. "

Ed Shelleby, a spokesman for the Children's Defense Fund, explains part of the money will be used for the Child Tax Credit, by lowering the income eligibility threshold at which families can begin claiming the credit. States like Iowa, he adds, could use the assistance.

"A lot of states right now are struggling to balance their budgets, and what this bill does is ensure that they will be able to keep the level of services that they are currently providing to children."

In addition to the Child Tax Credit, billions are slated for school modernization, Head Start programs, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, and foster care and adoption services.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA