RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH: Spanberger: Expanding the child tax credit helps Virginia families, businesses

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, ABIGAIL SPANBERGER

I recently heard from a working mother in Fredericksburg whose husband passed away in August — two days before their son started kindergarten. In the immediate wake of this devastating loss, her focus was — of course — on her child. She shared that an increase to the Child Tax Credit would make it possible for her to afford the after-school child care program offered at her son’s school.

In Congress, I’m working to help parents like her go to work each day feeling confident that their kids have the support they need. On Jan. 31, Democrats and Republicans came together on the U.S. House floor to pass a bipartisan tax relief bill to put more money back in parents’ pockets. The U.S. Senate must now pass the bill and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would increase the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit from $1,600 to $1,800 for 2023, $1,900 for 2024 and $2,000 for 2025, including for Virginians who have already filed their 2023 tax returns. If this bill becomes law and the change affects your return, the IRS will recalculate your credit and send an update — or an additional refund to your bank account or mailbox.

When Democrats voted to expand the Child Tax Credit as part of the American Rescue Plan back in 2021, we slashed child poverty rates — and hundreds of thousands of Virginia families breathed a sigh of relief when it came to paying for child care, putting food on the table, or filling up their gas tanks. Estimates show that this new tax relief would benefit more than 365,000 children across Virginia whose families right now do not receive the full Child Tax Credit amount — or in some cases, any amount — under current law. This bipartisan bill would also adjust the maximum credit to keep pace with inflation in 2024 and 2025 and remove existing penalties on families with multiple children to make sure this credit is applied fairly.

This bipartisan tax relief would also cut red tape for business owners — reducing reporting requirements, expanding critical deductions and increasing their returns. Virginia’s Main Street businesses are the heart of our economy — and relief aimed at investing in our commonwealth and creating new jobs needs to meet the needs of Virginia’s small businesses. I’m proud that this bipartisan tax relief would do just that.

As Virginia continues to be a place where people want to live, work and retire, the lack of affordable housing is increasingly a challenge that keeps people locked out of home ownership or struggling to find a rental they can afford. This bipartisan legislation would respond to this challenge by incentivizing developers to build or rehabilitate more affordable housing by enhancing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) — a program with a demonstrated record of success in Virginia. A recent analysis found that as a result of this bill, Virginia would see the sixth-largest increase in affordable rental homes in the nation.

By passing the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act in the U.S. House, members of Congress across the political divide came together to put the focus back on working families. We know that our economy is only as strong as the investments we make to support our workforce and the next generation of Virginians. This bipartisan tax relief would help keep families financially secure, help our commonwealth’s small businesses stay strong, and help grow Virginia’s economy.

Now, our counterparts in the U.S. Senate must bring this bill for a vote and come together as we in the House of Representatives did to put more money back in the pockets of Virginia parents, support our Virginia businesses, grow our supply of affordable housing and ensure greater opportunities for children across our commonwealth. When the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act reaches the President’s desk, it will do just that.

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