Child Tax Credit expansion reducing hunger, increasing security for Maine kids — Congress must continue this life-changing program

The Biden administration’s improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) are cutting child hunger and improving economic security for families nationwide. About 4 out of 5 kids in Maine, 213,000 children, live in households benefitting from this new program. But without congressional action, the CTC will expire this year. Opportunities for more Maine youth to grow up with stability and security should not be temporary — Congress must make the expanded CTC permanent.

The improved CTC is providing families up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17 through the end of the year. In mid-September, 130,000 households in Maine received their third advanced CTC payment. These dollars benefit 105,000 children in Maine’s first congressional district and 108,000 children in the second district. In August alone, the CTC delivered $26.6 million to the first district and $27.5 million to the second district — money that boosts families’ incomes and produces a ripple of spending in local economies that supports jobs as families use the money to purchase food, pay bills, and cover school and child care expenses.

Recent data from the Census Household Pulse Survey shows the CTC effectively reduces child hunger and improves economic security in Maine. Since payments started in mid-July, the number of families with children experiencing hardship dropped:

  • 31 percent to 25 percent for affording basic expenses
  • 9 percent to 5 percent — nearly half — for having enough to eat

National studies confirm CTC payments succeed in reducing adversity for kids and improving economic stability across the country. The Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy found the first payments delivered in July kept 3 million children out of poverty.

Congress has the opportunity now to make permanent the expanded CTC with monthly payments for parents. Analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the CTC expansion and modest improvements to the Earned income Tax Credit contained in the Build Back Better package would boost incomes 9 percent for the 20 percent of Mainers with the least wealth. These benefits have the greatest impact in rural parts of Maine where household incomes would be boosted for 92 percent of children and 21 percent of workers without children compared to 89 percent and 16 percent, respectively, in urban areas of the state.

Without congressional action, the improved Child Tax Credit will end and Maine will miss this historic opportunity to fight child poverty and hunger, invest hundreds of millions of dollars into Maine families, and support local economies. Congress must act to make the CTC permanent.