WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2017 — Today, the Niskanen Center is proud to launch ExpandTheChildTaxCredit.com, which features a joint statement in support of a larger and more refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) by organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum. Supporters include Senators Mike Lee and Marco Rubio.

Whether tax reform helps or hurts working families and their children hinges crucially on the reforms Congress undertakes to the CTC. Our statement calls upon Congress and the Administration to:

  • Increase the Child Tax Credit to at least $2,500;
  • Increase refundability to include the most vulnerable families;
  • and index the Child Tax Credit to inflation.

Undertaking these reforms will ensure families and children are key beneficiaries of tax reform, while helping to promote stronger families and improve the overall structure of the tax code.

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), upon learning about the statement at ExpandTheChildTaxCredit.com, offered the following statements.

Senator Mike Lee:

“Working families expect to see real benefits from tax reform, and an expanded Child Tax Credit is one of the best ways to target relief for those who need it most,” said Lee. “The Child Tax Credit coalition’s clear voice on the topic is crucial in ensuring that our families aren’t simply an afterthought in tax reform.”

Senator Marco Rubio:

“Expanding the child tax credit is the number one thing we can do to enact a tax cut for working American families,” said Rubio. “Pro-family organizations have long been essential partners for this priority, and Expandthechildtaxcredit.com will help us ensure the tax reform package Congress considers puts working families first in line for relief.”

Niskanen Center’s Samuel Hammond:

“The framework put out by the Big Six negotiators has set the Child Tax Credit up as the key mechanism for delivering net benefits to working families,” said Samuel Hammond, the Niskanen Center’s poverty and welfare policy analyst. “We believe that all families, including those with lower income, deserve to come out ahead. Rich or poor, the benefits of a larger Child Tax Credit to family and child wellbeing are real and substantial.”

While most lower income households earn too little to owe federal income tax, virtually all such households pay significant amounts in payroll taxes, as the statement points out: “Two-thirds of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do income taxes, while families in the lowest income quintile pay the highest percentage of their income in payroll taxes of all. … by enhancing refundability, an expanded Child Tax Credit can help families at precisely the time when household budgets are most constrained, bringing tax relief to the vulnerable working families who are often neglected in national income tax debates.”

ExpandTheChildTaxCredit.com is an outgrowth of the Child Tax Credit Working Group, an ideologically diverse collection of over a dozen child policy and advocacy groups, formed by the Niskanen Center in recent months to discuss likely avenues for CTC reform. Niskanen’s work in this space began over a year ago with the publication of Toward a Universal Child Benefit, a report authored by Hammond which proposed making the CTC fully refundable. Since then, Niskanen has become the leading libertarian advocate for child allowances, and for the effectiveness of cash transfers to low income families more generally.

The Niskanen Center is a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.