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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Ohio foodbanks say Thriving Families Tax Credit could help reduce hunger

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024   

Ohio lawmakers are considering a proposal that would implement a statewide refundable child tax credit. Regional food banks say the bill would help more families meet basic needs and reduce strain on local food pantries struggling to meet demand amid persistent inflation.

Sarah Kuhns, advocacy and engagement manager with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said eight in 10 Ohioans are relying on food banks because of high prices, and are being forced to choose between groceries and paying for such basic needs as utilities, medication and transportation.

She added tax credits have proved to be effective for helping families reach financial stability.

"We saw during 2021, when the federal child tax credit was being paid out monthly to families, we saw a decrease in the number of households with children that we were seeing in our lines," Kuhns explained.

According to data from the Economic Policy Institute, federal child tax credit payments reduced child poverty to the lowest level on record, impacting more than three million kids nationwide.

The Thriving Families Tax Credit was introduced last fall by Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson and Rep. Lauren McNally, D-Youngstown. It would provide a benefit of up to $1,000 per child for kids younger than 5, and up to $500 for children ages 6 to 17. Families earning less than $65,000 annually would qualify for the full benefit amount.

Kuhns said households of color and those from marginalized communities have been hardest hit by inflation.

"It also means leveling the playing field, 83.7% of Black families, and 79% of Hispanic families in Ohio would receive at least some of the tax credit from the Thriving Families Tax Credit," she said.

A 2023 statewide survey of Ohio by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks found 68% of households had to choose between purchasing food and transportation or gas.

Disclosure: Ohio Association of Foodbanks contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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