Starting today, the families of over 1.1 million Wisconsin children will have more money in their bank accounts thanks to President Joe Biden and lawmakers who supported the American Rescue Plan. Why? Because the $1.9 trillion rescue plan that gave millions of Wisconsinites $1,400 and boosted vaccine distribution also gives families a tax cut. Soon, most Wisconsin families will be receiving monthly checks of a few hundred dollars directly into their bank accounts.
Raising a family is challenging, and the responsibility can be daunting. There are mortgage or rent payments, health insurance premiums, school supplies, and an unexpected purchase can force parents to dip into their savings. Even with careful budgeting, families can easily fall behind on keeping up with expenses. The COVID-19 pandemic left many families — including ours — feeling uncertain about their financial situation. Many things felt uncertain for us: our business was closed for two months, kids were permanently home from school, and we weren’t doing much of our “normal” everyday things. Yet, there were still bills to be paid. We took advantage of loan deferments, federal business loan programs and tightened up our budget. But it was a scary time and one that we hope we don’t see again in our lifetime.
Before the American Rescue Plan passed, families could claim the Child Tax Credit each year during tax season to reduce their tax bill. As many know, this required parents to go a full year, without seeing any assistance, only to receive a lump-sum reimbursement. Under Biden’s new plan, not only do families keep more money in their pockets, but the Biden administration will also begin depositing that tax credit directly into your bank account every month. For our family and many others we know, the monthly deposits will be more helpful than the one-time reimbursement. The deposits will provide more dollars we can budget each month to cover our recurring expenses.
The plan also expands eligibility. Parents are now able to claim children 17 years old or younger as dependents, with children under 6 years old qualifying for even more assistance. Any new parent can tell you that kids are expensive. Parents who earn too little to pay taxes are also newly eligible to receive the credit by registering on the IRS website. This new monthly funding will help families put food on the table, pay the bills and save for college.
What’s disappointing is that some lawmakers in our state, most notably Sen. Ron Johnson, stood directly in the way of passing the bill that deposited $1,400 checks in our bank accounts and additional funding for vaccine distribution. I don’t think he sees the struggles that my family, or others across Wisconsin, have faced during the pandemic, nor does he understand how much these stimulus dollars and tax cuts will benefit our everyday lives.
I’m grateful to Biden and Democrats in Congress who voted for this tax cut for families like mine. Starting today, millions of Wisconsinites will have more money in their pockets. From $1,400 checks to this new child tax credit, it’s clear to me the Biden administration is making things easier for Wisconsin families. And really, it’s about time we had a government that works for folks like us.
Midthun is a parent in Eau Claire and co-owner of Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor.