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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

New MN Child Tax Credit aligns with economic justice efforts

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Monday, March 25, 2024   

With tax season winding down, efforts continue to spread the word about Minnesota's new Child Tax Credit.

Outreach leaders say it's another way to help struggling households land on firmer financial ground.

Under the plan approved by lawmakers last year, families who qualify will receive up to $1,750 per child, with no limits on the number of children for filers claiming the credit.

The Children's Defense Fund's Economic Justice Outreach Manager Natletha Sumo Kollie said the extra refund will complement aid programs these households might be relying on.

"Public programs, right now as they exist, are really something that we call expense reducers," said Kollie. "If you have SNAP, it can only go towards food. But the idea of flexible cash, from tax-credit refunds, it's something that you can use for other things."

That might include a car repair or paying off some medical debt. State revenue officials say so far, about 145,000 filed returns have claimed the credit.

Among those eligible are households with little to no income that aren't required to file taxes.

Kollie said there are barriers to reaching those families and easing their fears about going through the process of receiving the tax benefit.

To help as many people as possible learn about the Child Tax Credit, the Children's Defense Fund has added it to its "Bridge to Benefits" platform.

Kollie said you can find out if you're eligible through this online screening tool.

"You just answer a few questions about the county that you live in, your family makeup - to see if you're a single or married household, the ages of the children, your income," said Kollie, "and then the tool tells you what public programs and tax credits you're potentially eligible for."

And there's information on free tax prep sites in your area.

Her organization also partnered with the Minnesota Budget Project and Prepare & Prosper in developing a website with specific details on the CTC called ClaimYourMoneyMN.com.

Kollie said the new benefit isn't a cure-all in addressing poverty, but it should help.

She said benefit cliffs remain a challenge.

That's when a household gains a little more income, then loses a public aid benefit - and what they earn doesn't make up for that loss, leaving them economically unstable.


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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