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MN Parents: Expanded Tax Credit Helps, Should Be Extended

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Friday, August 20, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Today is payday for many Americans. Families trying to make ends meet are also now getting a bump each month from the expanded federal Child Tax Credit.

Some Minnesota parents said they hope it does not expire. Under the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration boosted the annual tax credit to $3,000 per child.

The changes allowed qualifying parents to receive a portion of the credit monthly, through payments that started mid-July.

Sara Aegarter, a mother of two from St. Paul, said the pandemic drastically cut into her household income. She acknowledged the tax-credit checks have provided some breathing room that allows her to focus on her family.

"Before these child checks, I had to work two jobs," Aegarter recounted. "Running my own business and then another job, and I barely ever got to see my kids."

However, the expanded credit is only temporary, with monthly payments ending in December. Supporters want Congress to make the expansion permanent. But opponents, including GOP lawmakers, argued it could deter people from working and lead to fraud.

In a poll from the group ParentsTogether Action, 90% of respondents reported the funds have made a difference in their lives.

Jenna Fulford, another St. Paul parent who works two jobs, said the monthly payments have allowed her to afford her rising rent costs. She worried if the credit expires, or if she fails to secure pay raises, she could be uprooted from a place she has called home for several years.

"The rent has been affordable, but if it keeps climbing," Fulford explained. "I don't know how much longer or what I'll be able to afford."

The Children's Defense Fund is also calling for a permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit. It says July payments were used by 375,000 Minnesotans to buy food, 86,000 for school supplies and 164,000 families for housing.

The group noted such expenses will still be around after the current payments expire.

Disclosure: Children's Defense Fund- Minnesota Chapter contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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