Four out of five Iowans with children will start seeing more money in their bank accounts as the first payments of a new child tax credit go out July 15.
To showcase the benefit, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, Iowa state Sen. Zach Wahls and Iowa state Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, along with three Iowa parents, spoke at an event on Thursday at Grace Preschool in Des Moines.
“It’s a massive tax relief that will really help our families, it will put more money in their pockets and really drive their families to greater success,” said Axne, who represents Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.
The parents spoke about what the money could do for them and their families, from freeing up the budget for fun, educational opportunities, or expanding the types of groceries they can buy.
Additionally, the parents said it will help them and their friends pay for child care.
Part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the extra money from the child tax credit will apply to most Iowans.
For every child aged 6-17, the credit is $3,000. For every child under age 6, it’s $3,600. The benefit starts rolling out on July 15 with monthly payments of $250 or $300.
Couples making less than $150,000 and single parents making less than $112,500 will qualify for the full amount. Families with higher incomes may have a smaller credit. There’s a website where individuals can check.
The Rev. Robyn Bles, a single mom and pastor of a Des Moines church, talked about how the extra money will allow her and other single parents to add fresh food to their grocery lists.
“We now can access and afford better-quality food for our children,” she said. “Rather than the things that are on sale or the cheapest prepackaged food, we can buy the apples that my four-year-old will just grab and walk around eating as she’s playing instead of a bag of cookies or crackers.”
Bles said her daughter will also be able to take swimming lessons and art classes.
Tiffany Welch, a Clive parent and Save the Children Action Network volunteer, talked to friends who said their priority for the money was child care.
“If these expanded credits had been available 12 years ago when [her son] was a baby and we were trying to afford child care, I would have been able to keep working at the job that I loved,” she said. “We were able to make sacrifices that I know a lot of families are not able to make.”
Now that her two children are older, Welch said they’ll have the money for the children to have in-person experiences they missed out on last year.
Axne was the only Iowan to vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan back in March.
“I don’t think these are parents that are asking too much for their children,” Axne said. “I don’t think that making sure they can take a summer camp is asking too much for our families. I certainly don’t think that being able to afford child care is asking too much. And that’s what this child tax credit will do.”
Konfrst said a single parent, who lives paycheck to paycheck, told her an extra $300 a month would make her feel better when balancing the checkbook.
“What we’ve seen from Congresswoman Axne and President Biden is what happens when politicians, policymakers and lawmakers listen to voters, listen to their constituents instead of special interests,” Konfrst said.
Wahls emphasized that all Iowans will benefit from this policy, and the bill is an example of Democrats keeping their promises to voters.
“[The bill is] going to make it easier for parents to have more children, or make it easier for young parents to stay in Iowa, and it will result in better-paid childcare workers,” he said. “That is why this bill is such a game-changer for Iowa families across our state.”
by Nikoel Hytrek