Democratic Lawmaker Floats Idea of Child Tax Credit

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Raising a child in Connecticut costs about $15,000 a year but one lawmaker is hoping to make it a little easier for about 1 million Connecticut taxpayers by offering a state-based child tax credit. 

“I had no idea that everything would be so expensive. Like I said formula she goes through it all the time,” Meghan Begley of Canton said during a Zoom press conference.

Begley is a 26-year-old mother of a 5-month-old and works full-time. 

“There’s so many other expenses that you have that come along with a child. Diapers, wipes, food, clothes. All those things this is about too --it’s not just about child care,” Rep. Sean Scanlon said. 

He added that “the cost of raising a child in Connecticut and frankly in the United States is growing, and growing and growing at a time that wages are not growing nearly as much.” 

Scanlon, a Democrat from Guilford who co-chairs the Finance Committee and has a 16-month-old son, said it’s not just about the cost of child care - it’s about all the costs of raising a child. 

Scanlon is proposing a state-based child tax credit to piggyback on the federal tax credit. It will be phased in over four years. 

In the fourth year a middle-class family making between $53,419 to $202,859 with three children would be available to reduce their state taxes by $1,800 per year. 

“The underlying stress of the cost of child care rolls out into these other stresses,” April Godfrey said.

Godfrey is a hairdresser who said it wasn’t ideal but that she had to bring her children to work at times. 

Stacy Downer is able to work from home, but she still needs to bring in care for her four kids in order to get any work done. 

“Where does that money come from? You’re working so hard to save to accomplish these goals and where does that money come from?" Downer asked. 

Right now families spend about $15,000 annually on child care. Child care accounts for 25% more annually than in-state college tuition. 

Rep. Holly Cheeseman, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, said she likes the idea that the legislature needs to do more to make Connecticut friendly for families. 

“How you pay for that is a question that has to be addressed,” Cheeseman said. 

The proposal will cost Connecticut about $450 million in revenues in the fourth year. 

“In theory I like the idea, I think it’s something we should look at,” Cheeseman says. 

Scanlon did not propose a way to fund it.

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