As we approach the midpoint of the 2023 General Assembly Session, one of the biggest battles brewing is over what to do with the identified additional $3.6 billion available in the budget this fiscal year.
Our first priority must be to ensure the General Assembly fully funds its public education system and meets the growing mental health needs of Virginians.
We should then focus on providing tax relief to families with children.
The past few years have been difficult for families, particularly with rising costs. In November, a Census Pulse Survey showed that 44% of Virginia’s households with children indicated that they are having a difficult time paying typical household expenses, such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, and student loans. This economic insecurity impacts children’s learning, growth, and development.
The expanded federal Child Tax Credit provided under the American Rescue Plan proved a valuable tool in reducing child poverty, which fell to just 9 percent in Virginia in 2021. Parents reported spending funds received from the credit on food, diapers, school supplies and other family needs.
With so many parents concerned about supporting their kids, it’s no surprise that 72% of Virginians support the Child Tax Credit on a bipartisan basis.
Unfortunately, the expanded federal Child Tax Credit expired at the end of 2021.
It’s time to take action at the state level.
That’s why I introduced legislation this session with Senator Adam Ebbin (D- Alexandria) and Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) to create a state Child Tax Credit, which would provide a refundable tax credit of $500 per child for families making $100,000 or less. This would help an estimated 737,000 families in Virginia address the rising costs of raising approximately 1.3 million children.
The tax credit would have an immediate impact on families, for example covering the costs of over 16 months of gas bills or 313 gallons of gas, 3,448 diapers or over a month’s worth of groceries. We saw how transformative the American Rescue Plan Act’s temporary expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit was for families with children, reducing child poverty to record lows. We know that a vast majority of Virginians support this measure, and we know a growing number of them are feeling insecure about the ability to cover their children’s basic needs. We also know that we have the resources available to make the Child Tax Credit a life-changing reality for so many families.
Now is the time to provide proven relief to Virginia families from rising costs, and I am proud to champion this legislation on behalf of the children and families here in Richmond and across the Commonwealth.
I look forward to updating you on the Child Tax Credit and other issues before the General Assembly in the coming weeks. To learn more and stay engaged, contact me or my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 698-7509.