This week, Congress failed to pass a permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit. As a result, nearly 19 million kids (including 192,000 children in Oregon) have lost all or part of the credit because their families make too little money.
Families across our state will continue to struggle to make ends meet, forced to choose between a roof over their heads or food for their children. This is why Oregon lawmakers must step up to create a state child tax credit that will provide very low-income Oregonians some level of economic security.
The success of the expanded federal Child Tax Credit provides the most direct evidence of what cash supports can do for families and their children. While it was in place, the stronger Child Tax Credit slashed poverty nearly in half, taking it down to a record low. That success is proof of the power of unconditional cash.
But with the end — at least for now — of the enhanced federal Child Tax Credit, it’s incumbent on the Oregon legislature to step up. Oregon can shore up struggling families by creating the Oregon Kids’ Credit, a refundable, $1,200 tax credit available to every Oregon family that meets income requirements. The full credit would be available to families making up to $40,000 in adjusted gross income for joint filers, before gradually phasing out.
This refundable credit would be an investment in Oregon’s future. Not only would the credit have the immediate effect of alleviating many of the economic stressors of raising a child, evidence indicates it would improve children’s test scores in reading and math and increase their chances of graduating from high school. Evidence also suggests that the credit would have long-term benefits, including increased earnings for young adults who received the credit as children and better health outcomes later in life. All of these benefits would also have a positive impact on the economy — a win for all Oregonians.
Oregon legislators will have an opportunity to consider the Oregon Kids’ Credit in the upcoming 2023 session, and OCPP and our coalition partners will be working hard to make it a reality. Oregon kids deserve no less.