HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A recent study commissioned by the state on tax fairness found it costs the average Connecticut family $17,000 a year for childcare.

A proposal before lawmakers would allow qualifying families to claim a state child tax credit. That could mean relief for an estimated half a million parents.

Here’s how it would work:

  • The credit would be $600 per child
  • Children would have to be under 17 years old
  • Income qualifications include up to $100,000 individual filers, up to $160,000 head of household, up to $200,000 married couples filing jointly
  • Parents could claim a maximum of three children

Anyone who is the child of a single parent knows the struggle. Morgan Watts is one of them.

“I’ve seen my mother have to choose between paying certain bills and putting food on the table. There were winters with no heat quite honestly.”

For Watts, a child tax credit is about a better quality of life.

“My community, my family, my friends would be able to invest in their children’s future.”

State Rep. Sean Scanlon, the Democratic chair of the Finance Committee, asked, “Would creating a state-level child tax credit help deal with some of the tax inequities that we saw in that report?”

Pat O’Brien, a researcher with New Haven-based policy think-tank Connecticut Voices for Children, answered: “Yes, the child tax credit is important because it would address both of those dynamics. It would make it fairer for families with children and by lowering their tax rate, it would lower the overall average effective tax rate.”

Sana Shah from Connecticut Voices for Children said the temporary federal child tax credit from the American Rescue Plan allowed some families to receive $10,000 in relief last year, chipping away at childhood poverty in our high-cost state.

“The fact is the high cost of raising children lowers the family’s ability to pay,” Shah said.

But some say the state child tax credit is not sustainable.

“What are we doing to make, you know, the daily items that they buy more affordable? I know we’re looking at a gas tax holiday, but you know, electricity prices,” said State Representative Holly Cheeseman, the Republican ranking member on the Finance Committee.

There are estimates the new child tax credit could cost the state nearly $300 million a year.

Governor Ned Lamont’s staff is reviewing the proposal. They say the governor continues to fight for other areas of tax relief through his more than $300 million proposals to cut taxes, including car taxes, providing another sales tax free week and a gas tax holiday.