2023 U.S. Poverty Laser Talks
Prioritize the Child Tax Credit in End of Year Tax Legislation (for Progressive Audiences)
Engage: In 2021, the expanded Child Tax Credit (“CTC”) helped millions of families pay the bills and helped cut child poverty almost in half.
Problem: Now, as families are facing higher costs for rent, food, and fuel, the expanded CTC has ended. As a result, child poverty has dramatically increased and 19 million children are no longer eligible for the full CTC benefit.
Inform: The 2021 CTC expansion was the most significant investment in reducing child poverty in a generation. It was the main reason we saw a historic 46 percent reduction in child poverty in 2021. Families used their CTC payments to buy food, pay rent, and cover utilities. [share your own experience and/or state data on the impact of losing the CTC]. As Congress considers their tax priorities for this year, they should prioritize families by expanding the CTC.
Call to Action: In a divided congress, bipartisan support for expanding the CTC for the lowest-income families must be a priority. Will you work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expand the CTC to all low-income families, with regular payments and no strings attached, in tax legislation this year?
The Child Tax Credit Needs Broad Bipartisan Support (for Conservative Audiences)
Engage: Since 1997, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) has helped millions of hardworking American families weather tough economic times, while also dramatically decreasing child poverty.
Problem: Under current law, 19 million children live in homes who do not receive the full benefit of the CTC. Most of these children have parents who work full or part time in low-wage jobs and disproportionately come from rural areas.
Inform: The CTC is the most pro-family policy in a generation. [Share your own experience and/or state data on the impact of losing the CTC]. When the CTC reaches the lowest-income families and is paid monthly, it helps them stay housed, put healthy food on the table, and stay employed. Monthly payments put money back into the hands of American families when they need it most, monthly bill time. It also allows families to choose how best to use it, whether it was for monthly bills, their child’s education, or starting small a business.
Call to Action: Congress must prioritize effective policies that make families stronger and more prosperous. Will you work to expand the CTC to all children in low-income families and with regular payments in any tax legislation this year?
It is important in all our lobby meetings to connect with a member’s values (review our motivational interviewing training recordings to learn more). Right or left-leaning members may connect with certain arguments more than others. Use your best judgment as to which of the laser talks below would resonate best with your intended audience. For more talking points and background, see RESULTS CTC Background Memo.
Renters Need Tax Relief Too. Any Tax Reform Must Prioritize Them.
Engage: The tax code provides billions in tax subsidies to homeowners, developers, businesses, and landlords, but almost nothing for the nearly 44 million Americans who rent.
Problem: Even employed households are having trouble keeping up with skyrocketing rents.
Inform: A renter tax credit would help. The credit would be targeted to rent-burdened, low-income renters and paid out on a monthly basis, essentially capping out-of-pocket rent and utilities expenses. This would allow low-income renters to afford a safe place to live without sacrificing other basic needs. It would broadly benefit households that existing housing and homelessness programs modestly funded by Congress are unable to serve. And it would prevent people from evictions and experiencing homelessness by providing them with financial stability against high housing costs. [share how a monthly renter tax credit would help you]
Call to Action: Will you support using the tax code to target relief to renters via a renter tax credit? Are you open to looking at specific policies that would use the tax code in this way? What’s the best way to follow up with you on this?