Child Tax Credit in Need of Overhaul
CTC in current form could go farther in addressing the needs of middle- and working-class families
For Immediate Release: January 15, 2009
Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Earlier today, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel announced that economic-recovery legislation to be introduced in the House would include a provision to extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to many families who do not currently receive it. A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research(CEPR) addresses deficiencies in the current tax credit and proposes restructuring the CTC to make it more inclusive and universal. These changes would also be progressive in nature, so that those families most in need of assistance would benefit from the credit.
"When Congress established the Child Tax Credit in 1997, the stated intent was to 'better recognize the financial responsibilities of raising dependent children' and 'promote family values,' but the existing credit hasn't lived up to these goals because it excludes many families," said Shawn Fremstad, author of the report and Director of CEPR's Bridging the Gaps initiative.
The study, "Leave No Child Behind: A Quick Take on How Congress Should Restructure the Child Tax Credit to More Fairly Value Families and Reduce Inequality," notes that families in the top 40 percent of the income distribution currently receive larger subsidies on average than families in the bottom 40 percent. Moreover, many working-class families are excluded altogether from the child tax credit. These families include some parents who care for children with severe disabilities as well as many families in which retired grandparents or other extended family members are the primary caregivers.