Bill to Expand Tax Credits Draws on Children's Health Data
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
A bill to increase tax credits in the Commonwealth is backed up by research showing the credits lead to better nutrition for working families and better long-term health outcomes for children. Lawmakers want to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit and streamline other existing dependent tax credits to help put even a few hundred dollars back in the pockets of working people, including immigrants and many essential workers.
Democratic State Senator Jamie Eldridge said while food, energy and housing prices are up significantly, the bill is about more than just rebates.
"It's also about their health care," Eldridge said. "It's about taking care of kids and making sure they have adequate nutrition, and it's something that really has a tremendous impact on the entire Commonwealth. "
Eldridge added the legislation will help decrease food insecurity and ensure a basic standard of living for people to survive in an increasingly expensive Commonwealth.
Expansion of the Child Tax Credit is credited with cutting child poverty in the U.S. by more than 40% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show the tax credits improve the health of mothers, decrease low birth weights in infants, and even lead to improved academic outcomes for children.
Charlotte Bruce, senior research and policy analyst with Children's Health Watch at Boston Medical Center, said the tax credits provide direct cash payments to those in need.
"When you look at the data of how families spend tax credits, particularly if they're done periodically, they're really being used to afford basic needs and other enrichments for their child," she said.
Bruce added the extra income allows people to spend money on healthy meals and necessary medical care.
But tax credits cannot help families if they don't know they exist. MASSCAP, a coalition of Community Action Agencies, operates 40 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers to help people receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
Ancel Tejada, Financial Empowerment Program Manager with MASSCAP, called the tax credits "course changing."
"A lot of our families do take that time and opportunity to get that money, and they do start their emergency savings account and they do start to pay back some back debt, Tejada said."
Tejada added the expanded tax credits recently helped one mother take her daughter to the beach for the first time, providing a healthy respite for both mother and child.
get more stories like this via email
The youngest North Carolina voters could end up shifting the political landscape of the state in the not-too-distant future. New data from the …
Protests have heightened in New York as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins the United Nations General Assembly today. Sonya Meyerson-…
Many across the state of Nevada will celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow. Nevadans will be able to visit state parks for free on Saturday…
Across Utah, 10 cities will be using ranked choice voting in the general election in November. In 2018, Utah passed a bill to establish a pilot …
While North Dakota does not have voter registration, civic engagement groups say efforts are still needed to help underserved populations get …
Health and Wellness
Open enrollment begins soon for employer-sponsored health insurance for coverage starting Jan 1. Most people will have multiple options to choose …
Health and Wellness
Health care advocates are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign four bills aiming to lower medical bills, improve transparency, and make health care more …
Rural advocates are supporting the Farmland for Farmers Act in Congress. It would restrict the amount of Iowa farmland large corporations can own…