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The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.


Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.


The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Expanded Child Tax Credit Boosts Safety Net for MI Families


Friday, August 13, 2021   

ALLEGAN, Mich. -- More than 1.9 million Michigan kids are benefiting as their families see extra money from the extended federal Child Tax Credit.

The second round of monthly payments of $250 to $300 per child, depending on their age, is expected to hit bank accounts today.

Esperanza Carrasco-Morales, nutrition and senior services specialist for Community Action of Allegan County, said the advance payments help families like hers feel more secure and prepared for unexpected or once-a-year costs.

"I am a single mother of four, so that extra income that's coming in, that tax credit that came in, has helped out immensely with school supplies, and school clothes and whatnot," Carrasco-Morales explained. "Especially with gas. Gas prices are going up."

Most recent Census Bureau data found a great need for help among Michigan families with children.

More than 1.5 million Michigan households, or roughly 23%, said they found it "somewhat or very difficult" to pay their regular bills in the last week. Nationally, more Black and Latino families are struggling to pay household expenses than white families.

Experts said the Child Tax Credit could lift nearly 250,000 Michigan kids above, or at least closer to, the poverty line.

Brenda Molendyk, chief financial and operating officer for Community Action of Allegan County, said reducing poverty benefits everyone, when more families actively participate in the economy.

"In a normal year, they of course would get this payment just once a year, and that would be when they file their taxes," Molendyk pointed out. "Having the availability that it is now every single month really helps them in their monthly planning, in a monthly budget."

The expanded credit, part of the American Rescue Plan, is only for 2021, but advocates for reducing child poverty think it should be made permanent. President Joe Biden has proposed extending the credit through 2025 in his American Families Plan.

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