How the Child Tax Credit can contribute to reducing child poverty in Puerto Rico

Addressing child poverty in Puerto Rico will necessitate a multi-pronged approach. However, immediately the Child Tax Credit is one feasible, low-cost, first step for Congress that already has bipartisan support.

Although most Puerto Rican families do not pay federal income taxes, they do pay federal payroll taxes. Currently, families in Puerto Rico can use these federal payroll taxes to claim the Child Tax Credit if they have 3 children or more. The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth for Puerto Rico, a bipartisan work group, recommended that the Child Tax Credit be extended to families with 1 and 2 children in Puerto Rico. The impact would be the following:

  • • 355,000 numbers of families receiving the CTC
  • • $273 million going directly to families with children
  • • Studies show that the CTC is a powerful weapon against poverty and that boosting working families’ incomes can expand opportunities for children. Research has found that modest amounts of cash income in early childhood can be transformative for children living in poverty and that this extra income facilitates infant development and reduces the incidence of low birth weight. In the longer term, it leads to higher test scores in elementary and middle school, and a higher likelihood of graduating from high school and completing one or more years of college.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • • Contact your Congressman through this Action Alert
  • • Call your Congressman and Senator, and let them know that the extension of the Child Tax Credit to all of Puerto Rico’s families is important to you
  • • Tell your friends and family to do the same!