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Child Tax Credit would benefit 46,000 Montana kids

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Mark Moran

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(Big Sky Connection) Advocates of the Child Tax Credit are calling on Washington lawmakers to expand it as they return to the Capitol this week. It's estimated an expansion could help more than 46,000 kids in Montana.

HR 7024, also known as the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, would increase the Child Tax Credit from $1,600 to $1,800, and raise it by another $100 next year.

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Nathan Stahley, executive director of the Montana chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said this would benefit 16,000 Montana kids under age six - which would, in turn, help lift families' financial burden.

"Across the state, we're seeing families struggle to pay their bills," said Stahley. "You know, having to make a choice - do they have to put food on the table there, or are they going to pay for their medication, maybe? And so, when we look at this credit, it's going to lift people out of poverty."

A permanent expansion of the pandemic-era tax credit has strong support, according to recent polling. The expanded CTC passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support and now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.

Beyond helping families pay their bills, Stahley said an expanded Child Tax Credit would help them pursue services they often neglect because of cost.

"Anything from therapy to other health-related concerns they may be working through," said Stahley. "Again, when you're in poverty, there are a lot of things you're not going to be able to afford - and one of the first things that gets cut is health. So, we want to make sure they can put food on the table and get the health care they need."

Numbers from Children's Health Watch show families who received the expanded Child Tax Credit during the pandemic were also able to catch up on rent.