A New Jersey Child Tax Credit will help the families of almost 2 in 3 young children, putting hundreds of dollars back in the hands of residents at tax time. Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) has introduced legislation that would create a $500 tax credit for eligible families with children age 6 and younger.
“We hear over and over again from our constituents about the difficulty of raising children affordably in New Jersey. It’s time to give families the financial support they need,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson. “New Jersey can do more to help make the State truly affordable for working families. For parents earning less than $30,000, a $500 payment can be a critical difference between making rent or being evicted. We cannot allow hard-working families with young children to remain left behind.”
Under the bill (A-3852/S-2523), the new tax credit would go to households for each child under the age of 6, providing direct cash payments as part of annual tax refund checks to households earning less than $80,000 annually. These payments would directly help an estimated 400,000 children across the State. Payments would be $500 for each eligible child for incomes up to $30,000, with payments reduced by $10 for each $1,000 earned over $30,000. For example, a household earning $60,000 would receive $200 per eligible child.
“New Jersey must continue to make investments in our children by creating strong programs that mitigate financial obstacles faced by New Jersey’s families,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, prime sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. “A strong Child Tax Credit that financially assists children in their earliest years will make a huge difference for their life trajectories and future success. We urge legislators to support and champion this legislation so that we can send a much-needed lifeline to families.”
“The Child Tax Credit has the potential to blunt the impact of child poverty, a scourge affecting one in 10 New Jersey children and disproportionately affecting younger children targeted by this bill,” said Peter Chen, a senior policy analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective and author of a February 2022 report laying out a blueprint for the Child Tax Credit. “As my report outlines, a State Child Tax Credit would help out working families who need it most and advance racial income equity across the State.”
“The successful federal Child Tax Credit showed how these tax credits can lift families out of poverty and immediately give them the financial breathing room to cover necessary expenses,” said Renee Koubladis, Anti-Poverty Director at New Jersey Citizen Action. “A State Child Tax Credit would help fill in some of the gap left by the failure of Congress to act to extend the federal credit at a time when we know New Jersey families are still hurting from the economic pain of the pandemic.”
“As a single father of three, I know exactly how hard it is to meet those daily expenses of raising kids in New Jersey,” said Luis Mercado-Rivera, All Kids Thrive Navigator at Arm in Arm, a Trenton-based social service agency. “With my federal Child Tax Credit, I paid for clothes and car payments. Now that the program has ended, I know from experience, that parents will need the State to step in to help make raising kids more affordable.”
Connecticut, New Mexico, and Vermont recently passed new Child Tax Credit legislation as part of broader tax relief packages, joining California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York.