Coalition of West Virginia organizations, parents rally for extension of child tax credit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A coalition of West Virginia organizations and those parents and guardians directly impacted by the child tax credit rallied on the state Capitol steps on Friday, one day before more than 30 million families across the country will not receive a monthly payment for the first time since July.

Families received up to $300 per month for children under 6 and up to $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17 as part of the American Rescue Plan. There was an extension on the table included in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act but Congress could not pass it by the end of the year.

On December 20, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told CBS Sunday Morning he would not support the legislation after months of negotiating. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) opposes the framework too.

Angelica Willis of Charleston, a parent who had been receiving the credits and a current graduate student, had a message for lawmakers at the event.

“We are educating ourselves, attending college, maintaining family life, all while keeping roofs over our heads. We are not all drug addicts — we have a lot to offer the state,” she said.

Kelly Allen, West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy Executive Director said at the rally Friday that 180,000 households in the state have been receiving the credit since July — which equals to over 90% of households.

Kelly Allen

“No state has been more impacted by the expanded child tax credit than West Virginia. Similarly, more state has more to lose than if it is not extended,” she said.

“Over 90% of the households in the state say they’ve been using payments to meet basic household needs — pay rent, pay a mortgage, keep up with school supplies, put food on the table, pay utilities.”

According to the coalition, the expanded credit was responsible for reductions in child poverty by more than 40 percent nationally. In West Virginia, 50,000 children are at risk of slipping back into poverty or deeper into poverty if it is not renewed, a release said.

Willis said this would not a government handout but an extension.

“We contributed faithfully throughout this pandemic. We worked hard and earned each paying hour. Not only do we deserve this but we need this,” she said.

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