Amy Jo Hutchison’s May 22nd guest editorial, “Tax credits would be ‘life-altering’ for some,” was a strong and sensible message for effective action to fight poverty in our state.
Hundreds of thousands of West Virginians, many of them children, will benefit in the most meaningful ways from the temporary expansions to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These direct benefit payments stand to be the difference between managing a day-to-day scramble for basic needs to having the freedom to thrive and work toward long term goals.
As Ms. Hutchison notes, this is life-altering for many in our state, including the 28 percent of adults in West Virginia who, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey for April-May 2021, are having difficulty paying for usual expenses, like food, housing, car payments and student loans.
And while the Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy projects that CTC and EITC payments will cut poverty rates by 45 percent, these payments will stop at year’s end without further intervention from Congress. There is no reason that these should only exist as temporary lifelines when we know they’re game changers in the fight to eliminate poverty.
CTC and EITC expansions effectively address poverty because they directly address poverty. I join Ms. Hutchison in urging Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin to prioritize permanent funding for CTC and EITC at 2021 levels in further recovery legislation.
Editor’s note: DiStefano is the leader of RESULTS WV, a network of non-partisan volunteer advocates seeking to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.