Nevada among states most in need of expanded child tax credit, study says

Nevada among states most in need of expanded child tax credit, study says
(Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash)

by Michael Lyle, Nevada Current

The expanded child tax credit, which provided monthly payments to families, might be gone but a recent study shows the need for the money hasn’t faded. 

In a report released by MagnifyMoney by Lending Tree, Nevada was ranked fifth in states of residents needing the monthly payment the most. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, the report estimated nearly 84% of Nevadans urgently need the advance payment. 

The final payment for the expanded tax credit was distributed Dec. 15. An effort to extend the credit for one year was included in the Build Back Better bill, a nearly $2 trillion climate policy and social spending plan. The legislation passed in the House in November, but has since stalled in the Senate. 

In a letter sent Wednesday, five Democratic U.S. Senators urged the White House not to give up on efforts to extend the credit. The senators touted the expanded payment not only as the “biggest investment in American families and children in a generation,” but also a popular move that has helped the economy.

“Economists estimate that every dollar invested in this policy returns an additional $7 in benefits to society in the long run by improving health, education, future earnings, and other outcomes,” they wrote. “The consequences of failing to extend the CTC expansion are dire, particularly as families face another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the expanded credit, nearly 10 million children will be thrown back into or deeper into poverty this winter, increasing the monthly child poverty rate from roughly 12 percent to at least 17 percent.”

Though Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen didn’t sign onto Wednesday’s letter, both have previously called for the credit to be extended. 

“Our hard-working families want us to keep this critical support going for them,” Cortez Masto said in a speech on the Senate floor in December. “This is not the time to make it harder for people to keep a roof over their heads or get their kids the essentials they need.”

To shield it from a filibuster by Republicans, who oppose the investments proposed by the Build Back Better bill, the legislation has to go through a Senate procedure known as reconciliation and needs the support of all 50 Democratic Senators in order to pass. 

However, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have opposed elements of the bill, with Manchin, who said in December he didn’t support the legislation as written, showing hostility toward the child tax credit component.

Reports have indicated that in private conversations Manchin worried parents would use payments to purchase drugs despite studies, including data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, showing money overwhelming has gone toward buying food, paying for rent and utilities or affording child care and education costs.    

The child tax credit was expanded when Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021. Monthly payments were sent out from July until December.

Not only did the legislation increase the maximum credit from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 for children 6 to 17, it also made the credit fully refundable so low-income families that were previously ineligible could now benefit.

As previously reported, thousands of families in Nevada came to rely on the credit as a lifeline, some who said it “saved our lives.”

The CBPP reported last year that in Nevada 271,000 children under 17, those previously left out of the full $2,000 credit, benefited from the ARP expansion.

Of the children in Nevada who weren’t eligible before the expansion, 142,000 were Latinx, 53,000 were white, 42,000 were Black and 10,000 were Asian. Another 23,000 were classified as multiple or another race. Over the six months the program was in effect, direct payments to Nevada households totaled more than $150 million each month.

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