Ohio Democrats are looking to help families struggling to cover household costs like groceries, childcare, and utility bills. They believe that instating an income based tax credit will help middle and low-income make up for the lapse in pandemic-era benefits and rising costs due to inflation.
Thriving Families Tax Credit
The Democrats plan, called “Thriving Families Tax Credit,” is sponsored by State Reps. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, and Lauren McNally, D-Youngstown who believe that Ohio families are a “priority investment” that can help give families the support they need to thrive and grow in Ohio.
In a press conference announcing the bill, Weinstein said “This is a priority investment that I think we should make, that’s right up there with funding our public schools.” She also commented on the bipartisan popularity of these efforts, “With nationwide inflation and rising costs, Ohio families need our help,” said Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson. “Support for child tax credits is growing and is bipartisan. It’s time to actually make Ohio the best place to raise a family.”
According to reporting in the Center Square, The bill would give a $1,000 per year tax credit for children age 0 to 5 and $500 annually for children 6 to 17. Families with an annual household income of $65,000 or less would qualify for the full credit. It is reduced for those making between $65,000 and $85,000 a year.
Advocates Support the Bill, but the Republican Supermajority Means an Uphill Battle
The Square also reports that The Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio and the Ohio Food Banks support the bill.
“Today, we have a chance to remove Ohio from the list of states that contribute to that statistic,” Matthew Tippet, a policy associate at Children’s Defense Fund said. “Child poverty is not inevitable. We all have the power to end child poverty. This piece of legislation represents a step toward that future. In a state where 20 % of children live in poverty, we need to do more. Where 1 in 7 children live in food insecurity, we need to do more. No one can tell people how best to spend the money for their children.”
While some moderate Republicans in the US House of Representatives support an expansion of the federal child tax credit, it’s not clear how much Republican support, if any, this measure has in the Ohio legislature.
Two similar proposals were introduced in last year’s General Assembly session and neither proposal passed. The Democratic bill would have to make it through Republican supermajorities in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate and gain Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature before it could become law.
Still, advocates vow to keep fighting for Ohio families like that of Benisha Wright, who spoke at the press conference.
“When we don’t have rich soil, and are planted in bad soil, we are always in survival mode…As soon as we get this mere taste of freedom or achievement … we are knocked back down by situational things, whether it be a car breaking down, whether it be providing basic medical needs, someone getting sick,” Wright said.