Working Kentucky moms are never off the clock. Between juggling jobs, after-school activities and help with homework, moms put in a lot more than a full day’s work. And every dollar they work for is hard earned.
But this Mother’s Day, what’s happening in Washington also matters to Kentucky moms. Congress can help nearly 300,000 families right here in the Commonwealth by making permanent key improvements to tax credits, putting money back into the pockets of moms who’ve earned it.
For more than 21 million working moms across the country, including 296,000 here in the Commonwealth, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are important tools to help make ends meet. By lifting the earnings of those who work hard every day, these credits reduce poverty and provide a measure of security to moms and their families.
Boosting income means moms are better able to pay for the very things that allow them to work and improve their family’s situation, such as child care and transportation. Combined, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2013, more than any other federal program besides Social Security.
That’s an incredible success story on its own, but evidence also shows the EITC and CTC have long-term benefits for moms and their kids.
Children who benefit from the tax credits perform better in school, scoring higher in reading and math. They are also more likely to finish high school and go to college than peers who don’t receive the same credits. Larger tax refunds, like those provided by these important credits, also boost college enrollment by making it more affordable for low- and moderate-income households.
Mothers and their children who benefit are healthier than families that do not. Those eligible for the credits are more likely to receive prenatal care and smoke and drink less during pregnancy compared to similar women not eligible for the credits.
And some of the best news is that the boost extends into the next generation, with more work and higher earnings for children raised by moms who benefit from the added income the tax credits provide.
With great results like those, it’s no surprise the credits have enjoyed strong, bipartisan support over the years.
However, unless Congress acts, millions of families will lose some — or all — of the important benefits they receive when key provisions of these credits expire at the end of 2017.
As just one example, a working mom with two kids earning the minimum wage would lose about $1,725 — her entire CTC — in 2018.
Fortunately, Congress can act to stop 13 million families with 25 million children from losing all or part of their credits, which would cost working families an average of $840 a year. If Congress doesn’t act, 323,000 Kentucky children will be pushed into poverty, stunting the educational and financial growth of a generation.
If you want to help working moms this Mother’s Day, consider calling our elected officials in Congress and asking them to support moms and kids by making these key provisions of the EITC and CTC permanent.
Kenny Colston is the communications director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He can be reached at email@example.com