Culpeper Star-Exponent: A powerful tool”—Spanberger votes for expanded Child Tax Credit bill

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, RICHARD HORNER

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, recently announced support for the bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, a measure also backed by local Culpeper officials.

On Jan. 31, she joined a 357-70 house vote in favor increasing the refundable child tax credit, cut red tape for small businesses and help spur affordable housing development. The bill heads to the Senate next before reaching the White House.

“Far too many families across the Commonwealth live paycheck to paycheck. For many of these families, just one emergency could lead to financial ruin,” said Spanberger. “When we expanded the Child Tax Credit under the American Rescue Plan back in 2021, we slashed child poverty rates — and thousands of Virginia families breathed a sigh of relief when it came to keeping the lights on, paying for childcare, or filling up their cars.

“This tax deal brings our focus back on working families. Additionally, this tax relief would not only help keep families financially secure, but it would make commonsense changes to help our Commonwealth’s small businesses stay afloat, grow, and hire more Virginians,” she said.

The increase in the refundable portion would start at $1,800 for 2023, $1,900 for 2024 and $2,000 for 2025. The bill also retroactively applied to those who filed their taxes early for 2023. In addition, the bipartisan tax deal would eliminate penalties for larger families and would adjust for inflation. An estimated 367,000 Virginia children that don’t receive the full amount would benefit from this bill, according to a release from Spanberger’s office.

Human services organizations in Culpeper County weighed in on the bill.

“We’re very pleased that that legislation was passed,” said Brian Phipps, president of People Inc. “The Child Tax Credit, especially during the pandemic, was proven to be a significant benefit to families that were experiencing poverty.”

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the expanded tax credit kept 2.3 children above the poverty line across the U.S.

People Inc. is involved in affordable housing here, and owns and runs Culpeper Crossing apartments. The community action agency is also behind the Lightfoot Apartments project in town, which will build three buildings with 60 units.

“People Inc. has been very active in using tax credits to develop affordable housing throughout Virginia and the move to increase the value of the tax credit is really important because it puts more equity into our projects. As we have access to that equity we don’t have to borrow as much money as we would have which helps us to keep the rents that we charge at those properties more affordable for families,” said Phipps.

Culpeper Human Services Director Lisa Peacock supported the congressional measure as well.

“We are excited about the extension of the child tax credit because it provides relief to low income families and lifts children above the poverty line in a significant way,” she said. “It also delivers a meaningful income boost to qualifying families.”

The Rev. Brad Hales, chairman of the Human Services Board, said the child tax credit would be a powerful tool for assisting families in their daily living, and in the care of their children.

“As we know in Culpeper County and across the nation, affordable housing has become a serious issue when it comes to working families and those in need. We certainly welcome any initiative which will help in giving people safe and quality places to live,” he said.

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