WASHINGTON – In response to the newly-released 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book that ranks New Mexico 49th in the nation for child well-being, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), is hopeful that the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) that he helped secure in the American Rescue Plan will help cut child poverty. As part of Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, Senator Heinrich is doubling down on his call to make that expansion of the Child Tax Credit permanent.
Senator Heinrich fought to include provisions in the American Rescue Plan that expand the Child Tax Credit for working families for tax year 2021. As part of Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, the White House announced that these benefits will start reaching nearly all working families beginning on July 15th.
“The expanded Child Tax Credit will make a real difference in helping parents and families afford the costs of raising a child and giving all of our kids the opportunity to succeed. I’m proud to recognize today as Child Tax Credit Awareness Day to let working families know that help is available, but based off of the number we saw in the annual Kids Count Data Book, we know fully well that the work cannot stop there,” said Heinrich.
Heinrich added, “I will continue to fight to make this expanded investment in the success of our children and their families permanent. If we want all of our kids to have the chance to succeed, we need to advance forward-looking, two-generation policies that provide robust services for parents and their children simultaneously and make sure every single kid has the support they need starting at early childhood education and all the way through higher education.”
The Child Tax Credit provides major tax relief for nearly all working families.
- All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called head of household).
- The Child Tax Credit has been expanded to $3,000 per child 6-17 years old and $3,600 per child under 6.
- Roughly 39 million households – covering 65 million children (nearly 90% of children in the United States) – will automatically receive the new child tax credit.
- Starting on July 15th and through the rest of the calendar year, payments will be monthly (via direct deposit for 80% of families and through the mail for the others) – at $250 per child between 6-17 or $300 per child under 6.
- The IRS has launched a simplified online tool which will allow families not automatically enrolled in the program to receive the Child Tax Credit – more information at ChildTaxCredit.gov.
The 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book finds that there are 116,000 children living in poverty in New Mexico and 151,000 children whose parents lack secure employment. The annual data book, compiled and published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, tracks a total of 16 indicators of child well-being, including issues like child poverty. New Mexico Voices for Children, part of the national KIDS COUNT Network, amplified the release of the Data Book today noting that the higher ranking correlates with improvements the state was seeing in child well-being prior to the start of the pandemic.
In addition to fighting for a permanent expanded Child Tax Credit, Senator Heinrich is working to pass all of the investments in early childhood education, full-service community schools, and two-generation policies in President Biden’s American Families Plan. Senator Heinrich has lauded the American Families Plan for taking a two-generation approach to deliver economic security to families by providing much-needed support for child care, making health care more affordable, and establishing a comprehensive national paid leave policy.
Senator Heinrich is the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act, legislation to increase opportunities for families living in poverty. A previous version of Senator Heinrich and U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) legislation included two provisions that have since been signed into law. These provisions include a request for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report exploring the potential for two-generation pilots, collaboration areas, and federal funding opportunities, and a new program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury to implement Social Impact Partnerships to improve the effectiveness of social services.
Senator Heinrich was also a longtime and vocal champion of the New Mexico Legislature’s passage of a constitutional amendment to invest a sustainable portion of the Land Grant Permanent Fund in early child education.