Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a day when we honor moms all around the country with cards, flowers, and small tokens of our thanks for all they do. A more practical way to show appreciation for millions of low-income moms, however, would be to make sure they’re economically secure. An important step towards economic stability is making sure they’re able to continue benefiting from two important tax credits that mean more money they can use to help make ends meet for their families.
New analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 21 million mothers in low- and moderate-income working families received either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2012. These two credits have proven track records of lifting millions out of poverty, including millions of children, and improving long-term outcomes for children in families who receive the credits. Now we know just how many moms are helped by it as well.
The state breakdown shows that nearly 2.7 million moms in California and more than 2.2 million moms in Texas received one or both credits. Even in Vermont and Wyoming – the least populated states – more than 25,000 moms benefited from these critical credits.
If improvements made in 2009 to the EITC and CTC are allowed to expire in 2017, millions of working mothers will lose a critical support. Sixteen million children and adults will fall into poverty or become more deeply poor. And yet Congress’ new joint budget resolution makes no move to make these improvements permanent or even extend them beyond 2017, instead choosing to green-light tax cuts for millionaires and corporations. Tools like this new state-by-state listing will be very helpful as we all continue to advocate for the EITC and CTC – and for the moms in our home states – with our members of Congress. You can also use this tool from our friends at RESULTS to urge your elected officials to protect and expand these credits.
Of course, another way to help low-income moms is raising the minimum wage. According to the National Women’s Law Center and the Economic Policy Institute, of the more than 37.7 million workers who would get a raise under the Raise the Wage Act, more than 6.8 million are working mothers—representing 29 percent of all working mothers and more than 40 percent of working single mothers with children under 18. You can use the National Women’s Law Center tool to urge your members of Congress to support the Raise the Wage Act.
You can also use MomsRising's tool to urge your elected officials to support the FAMILY Act, which would provide moms with paid leave while they, or a family member, deal with the arrival of a baby or serious health issue. Paid sick days would also be a huge help to low-income moms who too often have to choose between taking care of a sick child and getting a paycheck.
While there are many ways to honor moms this Mother’s Day, taking action to improve their economic security seems like a pretty great way to me. Please share your thoughts on other programs the federal government should be investing in to honor and protect America’s moms in the comments section below.