HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Leaders at the Capitol heard from families. They shared stories about how the State Child Tax Rebate Program helped them.

It is a new, one-time program that some want to be made permanent. Checks for this program went out in August and December.

A recent report by Moody’s Analytics showed for every dollar a family spends through a tax credit, $1.38 is returned into the economy.

To survive in Connecticut, experts at the United Way say a family of four needs to budget $90,000 a year to pay for housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care, and taxes.

Krystal Williams is a 34-year-old single mother of two living in New Haven.

“Everything is increasing, except income,” she says.

Williams just earned her bachelor’s degree, but struggles.

“Food has increased a lot! The other day at the grocery store eggs were like $8 dollars for a dozen,” added the New Haven mom.

Last year, lawmakers passed a budget that included a child tax rebate. The $125 million program included $250 dollars per child.

The rebate checks were sent to more than 238,668 qualifying families and 369,883 children benefited.

Commissioner Mark Boughton from the Department of Revenue Services explains the checks went out when they did for a reason.

“How can we impact families that are being crushed right now by last summer, by inflation, by the price of gas, which was much higher as you remember, and we wanted to get these checks out,” Boughton said.

Many families fit into what is called ALICE households: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. They earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living.

The average ALICE Household Survival Budget in Connecticut in 2018

$28,908 Single Adult(Federal Poverty Level = $12,140
$90,660 Family of Four(Federal Poverty Level = $25,000)
$31,752 Single Senior(Federal Poverty Level = N/A)

Some of that gap was filled this year, but what about next year?

Lawmakers are being asked to make the child tax rebate program permanent. Some estimates say it could cost the state 300 million dollars a year.

Krystal Williams says it’s crucial. “The result of not increasing the tax credit will result in families being hungry, homeless, and hopeless.”

CT Health Foundation reports the extra money is often spent on doctor’s bills and healthcare.

Lawmakers agree the child tax rebate program will be a topic for debate next legislative session.

The tax commissioner said if a family owed state taxes, the debt was taken out of their child tax rebate check. Boughton said getting rid of that long-term debt helps these families too. 

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