Faith leaders urge Sens. Kelly, Sinema to make expanded child tax credits permanent

Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 9:21am

Arizona faith leaders are urging U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema to expand child tax credits as part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

If the credits aren’t at least extended by the end of December, the recurring monthly payments of up to $300 for every child under the age of six and $250 a month for children ages 6-17 would lapse in the new year.

As passed by the House last month, the Build Back Better bill includes a one-year extension of the child tax credit. Tamera Zivic, the CEO of WHEAT, an anti-hunger and poverty organization, said the ongoing monthly payments have made a difference to families making less than a livable wage, and should be adopted permanently.

“The opportunity to be able to make this tax credit permanent rather than waiting for something at the end of the tax year, really has made a difference in the lives of these people,” Zivic said. “They don't expect it, but they certainly can use it.”

Natasha Chavez is a teacher, community organizer and mother of two. She said the expanded credit has helped her family cover grocery bills and other day-to-day basics.

“If I'm a middle class family, and this is extremely beneficial to my life, I can only imagine what someone maybe a single mother working, you know, a Walmart job, or whatever, just someone who's maybe in a lesser position than me that, this is definitely critical to their day to day existence,” Chavez said.

According to Bread for the World, a Christian organization striving to end world hunger, about 1.5 million kids in Arizona benefit from the expanded credit.

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