In the midst of the current economic challenges Americans face, The Rockefeller Foundation (Foundation) has had the privilege to see glimmers of hope through our support for organizations working to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). This movement took a big step forward in 2021 with the passage of the expanded federal CTC. Dubbed “a guaranteed income for families with kids,” this expansion lifted 3.7 million children out of poverty, improved rates of household debt and food insufficiency, and helped parents get back to work during some of the toughest pandemic months.

All of this was made possible through small, but significant changes in the tax code. The pandemic-era decision to make these federal tax credits fully refundable, with income requirements removed, created a cash benefit that acknowledged all the kinds of work that people are doing, regardless of whether someone collects a paycheck for their efforts. These expansions have the potential to create a more just and secure economy for low- and middle-income Americans, especially for people of color.

The federal CTC expansion has expired, despite a furious public education campaign by an aligned group of organizations through the end of last year. These efforts continue, at a slower pace in light of the intricacies of working with a divided government in Washington, and the President touted the CTC success in his State of the Union speech again this year.

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