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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Budget Stabilizer: Child Tax Credit Payments Arrive for WI Families

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Thursday, July 15, 2021   

MADISON, Wis. -- The federal government today begins issuing monthly payments under the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Advocates for working families in Wisconsin say it goes beyond cutting poverty rates. They say it will remove a lot of monthly budget pressure for scores of households.

The tax credit, expanded under the American Rescue Plan, includes monthly payments of $250 to $300 for each child through the end of the year.

Meghan Roh, program director for Opportunity Wisconsin, said aside from the credit amount going up, age limits have been expanded, making more families eligible.

"Speaking as a parent myself, you know, raising a family is tough," Roh remarked. "And even with careful budgeting, folks can fall behind on keeping up with their expenses."

She noted those recurring budget challenges existed before COVID set many families back.

As for other provisions, parents who earn too little to pay taxes are also eligible.

The Coalition on Human Needs said nearly 1.2 million Wisconsin children will benefit from the overall expansion, and 46,000 kids will be lifted out of poverty. But advocates warn it's just a temporary increase, and there are repeated calls to make it permanent.

The federal government has taken a variety of steps to help people negatively impacted by the crisis recover from their hardships.

Roh acknowledged while the federal boost added to what has been done, she hopes the significance of the expansion is not lost on the general public.

"This new monthly funding will help families across the state put food on the table, pay the bills, save for college," Roh outlined.

As was the case with enhanced jobless benefits during the crisis, skeptics say the expanded credit could discourage people from working. But backers point to a 2019 National Academy of Sciences expert panel report, which found almost all low- to moderate-income families would keep working if an expansion were approved.

Disclosure: Coalition on Human Needs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Census, Children's Issues, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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