The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, provides an occasional “Inside the Capitol” update during the state legislative session.
By Minnesota Catholic Conference
“Public authorities have the duty to sustain the family. … The family does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family.” (“Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” no. 214)
This is a bold calling and, as faithful citizens, we need to be advocates for policies that prioritize the family. Without strong families, we cannot expect to have a strong society.
One such policy that will put families first is a nation-leading Minnesota child tax credit. Economic relief in the form of direct cash support to families, such as a refundable child tax credit, not only helps sustain families but does so in a manner consistent with the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity. This form of tax relief provides families with the freedom to choose how best to structure their budgets.
A Minnesota child tax credit could also help address our state’s long-term workforce and population concerns. While many studies show that financial difficulties encourage divorce and family fragmentation, the lack of economic security also discourages family formation. A nation-leading fiscal commitment to families could be a catalyst for new families to be formed or for existing families to stay together.
Partnering to advance pro-family policies
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is working with an array of partners to pass a CTC. Our work began last year when MCC, along with Children’s Defense Fund and Legal Aide, convened a meeting between the Republican and Democrat Tax Committee chairs to present a child tax credit as the solution to the gordian knot between GOP-favored tax cuts and DFL-favored “Walz checks.”
This year, the Minnesota Budget Project joined our efforts, and we began promoting this relatively novel concept to the governor’s office. Those efforts proved successful when the Walz Administration included a child tax credit proposal in their budget recommendation. Simultaneous outreach to build a groundswell of public buy-in has resulted in over 30 advocacy organizations adding their names to a letter of support.
We crossed another significant milestone when a bill to create a new Minnesota Child Tax Crdit (H.F. 1369) received its first hearing in the House Taxes Committee Feb. 9. Four parents from MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network participated in the hearing by sharing their own stories of how the proposal would provide them with much-needed economic relief.
While only 12 states currently offer a child tax credit, there are several ways in which the policy can be crafted, with per-child benefit amounts and income eligibility thresholds being the most significant variables. It was important to offer a positive, personal display of support for H.F. 1369 because it would be nation-leading in terms of per-child benefit structure, flexibility and inclusivity.
A child tax credit would send a signal to Minnesota families that our state supports their vital contribution to society. This families-first proposal has built great momentum, but we need voices like yours to help get it over the legislative finish line.
If you would like to share your story of how the 2021 Expanded Federal Child Tax Credit helped your family, please contact Ryan Hamilton, MCC government relations associate at firstname.lastname@example.org.