New Jersey Should Join Other States and Create a Child Tax Credit

New Jersey should use its budget surplus to support families with kids and help make parenting more affordable.

Published on Jun 22, 2022 in Economic Justice

Child Tax Credits give households money back on their tax returns to cover the high cost of raising kids and make life more affordable for families, as NJPP’s report on a state Child Tax Credit in New Jersey shows.

So far in the 2022 budget cycle, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Vermont have created new Child Tax Credits, while states such as California, Massachusetts, New York have either expanded or proposed expansions to existing programs.

Although each program is slightly different, all use the state tax code to directly put money straight back in qualifying families’ pockets simply for having a dependent child in the appropriate age range. This series of changes point to a national movement to use budget surpluses to support families with kids and make parenting more affordable.

Refundable child tax credits have the power to: help families afford basic needs like food, housing, and utilities; promote kids’ healthy development; put money back directly into local economies.

A new proposal in the New Jersey Legislature (S-2523/A-3852) would create a state Child Tax Credit along these lines, providing families with a tax credit worth up to $500 for each child under age six for households earning up to $80,000 in income.

With the successful federal expanded Child Tax Credit now expired and any extension still in limbo, it will fall on states to rebuild the lifeline that helped so many families over the past year. New Jersey should invest its budget windfall in the families and children who represent the future of the state.