In today’s installment of We Are MomsRising, we talked to Julie in Arizona about how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit boost her family's income. She shared this story at a recent press conference in Washington, D.C. for the Working Families Tax Relief Act. Read more story below and you can watch her share it here. To learn more about the We Are MomsRising campaign, check out this blog post.
I’m an elementary school teacher from Tucson, Arizona. I’m a proud member of MomsRising and the mother of a beautiful, brilliant one-year-old son named Adam. My family is one of the 44 million households that would benefit from the Working Families Tax Relief Act, and I know firsthand why the expansion it makes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are so urgent. I am here today to share my story and urge Congress to quickly pass this legislation to help working families like mine and to invest in our children’s futures.
My husband and I both hold full-time jobs. My husband has an associate’s degree, and I have my master’s. Still, we don’t have high salaries, and having a one-year-old is incredibly expensive. Between diapers, doctor’s visits, childcare, and more, we struggle to cover everything we need. We do all we can to budget carefully and make every dollar count, but there are still some months where we’re worried about paying all the bills. It’s frustrating and stressful every day of our lives.
The current Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are essential for us, and they go straight to necessities like childcare, health care, paying down debt and building our savings. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit we received this year is helping us with the downpayment for a house! But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we need, especially because these credits don’t account for the expenses we face with a child who is so young. By expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and creating a fully refundable Child Tax Credit with a young child boost, the Working Families Tax Relief Act would be an incredible help to my family and so many others. It would ease so much of the financial stress we face during this special time in our child’s life.
In particular, it would really help us balance the costs of childcare and health insurance for our son. Those two expenses alone eat up almost my entire paycheck. We’re paying through the nose for childcare, and my son’s insurance premium is also through the roof. It’s frustrating, because I’ve studied and worked so hard, but it still feels like I can’t get ahead. Like many working moms, I often feel caught in a Catch-22: If I stopped working, we’d save hundreds of dollars a month on childcare, but then I wouldn’t be able to pay for my one-year-old’s health insurance - not to mention I shouldn’t have to give up my career to afford to raise a child.
If Congress passed the Working Families Tax Relief Act, these credits would cover months of childcare, or most of my son’s health insurance premium for the year. It would help me stay in the workforce and provide more opportunities for my baby. It would take such a load off our shoulders and help us save money for emergencies and for future expenses like college.
Having a young child shouldn’t mean falling behind economically, but too often, that’s what happens with families like mine. We struggle mightily to balance the costs of high-quality childcare and health care while trying to grow our savings, and build our careers. All of these things are essential to our child’s future.
These are the tax policies working families need, not tax breaks for the billionaires and corporations. As a teacher and a mom, I know that if we want America to develop the next generation of leaders, we need to take care of them when they are young and the parents who are raising them. The Working Families Tax Relief Act would give millions of families that much-needed support and help children reach their full potential. I hope this bill will be a high priority for Congress because it is for us.