California Should Use Its Massive Surplus To Lift Children Out Of Poverty With Direct Cash Payments
June 2, 2022
The recently-expired monthly federal Child Tax Credit payments cut child poverty dramatically in California by over 33%.1 California has an opportunity now to step in and keep those children from falling back into poverty.
California has a budget surplus in the tens of billions of dollars this year.2 Providing low-income California families with $2,000 per child would cost the state less than $5 billion.
Data shows that in January, right after the Child Tax Credit expired, the number of children in poverty spiked dramatically with Black and Latino/Latinx children seeing the highest percentage point increase in poverty.3 At the same time as families were no longer receiving this money, the price of basic goods like food and gas increased. A Public Policy Institute of California survey found 43% of families with kids suffered "serious hardship”, much more than those without children.4 We have a proven method to radically reduce child poverty with tax credits targeted to low-income families. The question is only whether Governor Newsom and the California Legislature will choose to do it.