Local leaders calling to extend child tax credit

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Millions of families nationwide will begin receiving federal Child Tax Credit payments next week as part of the Biden Administration's American Rescue Plan.

It will offer families up to $3600 through the end of the year.

Local leaders joined faith-based organizations in Downtown Fresno to urge congress to make those payments permanent.

The IRS will begin sending out monthly payments to qualified families on July 15 as part of the COVID-19 relief package President Biden signed into law in March.

The program is scheduled to run out at the end of the year, but now Democrats and others are pushing to make the expanded child tax credit permanent

"This is money that congress has appropriated and the President has signed to really deal with the economic poverty that exists throughout the country," said Democratic Congressman Jim Costa.

Eligible families will receive up to $300 per month for each child under the age of 6 -- and up to $250 per month for children between the ages of 6 and 17.

The IRS says nearly 90% of all US families with kids qualify based on their federal income tax returns in either 2019 or 2020.

Married taxpayers who make less than $150,000 can also expect to receive payments
"$150,000 and below, that's the threshold. So all of us under that threshold will be receiving those funds and if you haven't done the filing, then you need to jump in there and do it because this money belongs to you," said First 5 Fresno County Executive Director Fabiola Gonzalez.

Fresno County is home to some of the highest poverty rates in the country. Experts estimate nearly 631,000 kids locally will benefit from this tax credit including Amber Crowell's two young children.

"It's a significant little boost. For me, it takes my kids from three days a week to five days a week in daycare. For me, that's what that means and for others, it means being able to buy more food, it means being able to pay for a car repair," said the working mom.

Critics argue the monthly payments will cost the country too much while removing the motivation for people to pursue good paying jobs.

But supporters believe extending the monthly payments could cut child poverty in half -- particularly for minority families

"I think it's an investment worth making because we're taking so many of the children and their families out of poverty in America. Yes, there's a cost factor. It's a cost we can afford and it's a cost in the long term that will have a multitude of benefits," said Costa.

To see if you qualify, visit the IRS' website.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.