FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Virginia Alvino Young
50,000 WEST VIRGINIA CHILDREN RISK POVERTY IF ENHANCED CHILD TAX CREDITS EXPIRE
Appalachia —The enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) has significantly reduced child poverty across the country, but its fate lies in the hands of Senator Joe Manchin, whose opposition has hamstrung the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) and risks pushing West Virginia families deeper into poverty and economic insecurity.
This Martin Luther King Day weekend, the future of 346,000 West Virginia children hangs in the balance due to Senator Manchin’s inaction. The lifelong adverse impacts of living in poverty are well-documented and pose a detrimental risk to children’s health, education, and future earnings.
Across the region, the numbers paint an even more severe picture of how the failure to pass BBB will impact children. In Pennsylvania, 310,000 children are at risk of dropping into poverty or deeper into poverty, in Ohio, 277,000 children are at risk, and in Kentucky, 143,000 are at risk. All told, over 6 million children will lose the benefit across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia and 780,000 children will be at risk of dropping into poverty or deeper into poverty.
“As Senator Manchin pays tribute this weekend to Martin Luther King’s vision for a more just, equitable world, he must consider whether he will provide more than just lip service to Black families and children who stand to be most impacted by his refusal to support the Child Tax Credit and other desperately needed provisions in the Build Back Better Act,” said Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Executive Director of Black Women Rising. “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King profoundly stated “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his strice toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Kanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative piece which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” These words could not have a more profound ring in the atmosphere today as countless black, poor and struggling families find themselves fighting for their right to pay their bills, put food on the tables and care for their children. We need real solutions right now.”
Ninety-three percent of West Virginia children– approximately 346,000 total–qualified for the enhanced child tax credit. But unless Senator Manchin swiftly reverses course and Congress passes President Biden’s historic social spending package, that benefit stands to be upended on January 15, driving 50,000 West Virginia children below the poverty line.
While Senator Manchin has balked at the price tag of extending the $1 billion program, the enhanced child tax credit has had a significant and historical impact on reducing poverty and family hardship. A lifeline to struggling families, 91% of low-income households reported using the money to pay for basic necessities including food, rent, utilities, and school supplies. The credit has also pumped an estimated $539 million dollars into West Virginia, supporting local businesses and the state’s economy.
The Child Tax Credit is one of many essential supports for working families included in the Build Back Better Act – these historic investments would address longstanding needs that are holding Appalachian workers back – including lack of child care, health and food insecurity, and lack of good pay for critical jobs like our child care and home health workforces. These worker supports are especially important for women workers, who are often forced to choose between their families and their jobs,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia.
Senator Manchin has the opportunity to create bold, long-lasting change for West Virginia families and our state’s economy. It’s time for Senator Manchin to lift up working families and pass the Build Back Better Act to ensure a brighter, more prosperous tomorrow for the hundreds of thousands of children whose future depends on him.