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Advocates call for permanent expansion of child tax credit in Maine

On Monday morning, a dozen advocates gathered outside of Rep. Jared Golden's Lewiston office in support of permanently expanding the child tax credit.

LEWISTON, Maine — Advocates, parents, and others gathered outside of Congressman Jared Golden's office in Lewiston Monday, urging the congressman and Maine's congressional delegation to support permanently expanding the child tax credit (CTC).

"I see in my work every day that our neighbors and friends need relief, and our communities need support," Executive Director of AK Health and Social Services in Lewiston Abdikhadar Shire said. Shire's organization works closely with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and BIPOC communities in Lewiston and Auburn.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the CTC program was expanded. According to the Department of Treasury's website, the bill increased the amount of the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for qualifying children under age six, and $3,000 for other qualifying children under age 18.

"The child tax credit helps so many of the families we work with, so they can still get the things they need, despite the increasing costs of basic needs such as housing, childcare, and food," Shire said. 

The expanded child tax credit expired at the end of 2021. Advocates on Monday said when in place, the program brought more than $435 million to Maine families.

"The CTC payments from last year allowed us to go further," Sharon Carter said. Carter is currently battling cancer, is raising her granddaughter, recently adopted a teenager originally place with her through the foster system, and is also raising two other foster children. 

She said she and her family greatly benefitted from the expanded program, and if it were to be permanent, it would allow her children to flourish, and give them some breathing room.

"Going forward, an expanded CTC would mean that the kids would have money in the bank for their education," Carter said.

Congressman Golden was not in his Lewiston office on Monday. 

A spokesperson for Rep. Golden shared the following statement.

"As Congressman Golden made clear with his votes last year, he opposes sending taxpayer money to households making as much as $400,000 a year. He believes the child tax credit should be targeted toward working class families and used to prevent and reduce poverty. He will review any proposal that comes up for a vote in the House to ensure it goes to families who truly need it and to make sure that it is paid for and does not increase the current budget deficit."

In addition to advocates like Shire and Carter, Monday's event also featured leaders with the Maine People's Alliance and the Maine Center for Economic Policy in support of CTC expansion.

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