Working families and those with new businesses depend on payments to make ends meet.
I am a 38 year old married woman with four children.
I worked as a nurse for 14 years. For the past eight years, I’ve worked night shifts so I can be with my kids during the day and lower the cost of childcare. Recently, due to the associated risk of a health condition I developed, I had to transition to day shifts in a lower paid administrative role. I was the main source of income for our family while my husband was studying to complete his doctorate. in clinical psychology.
As parents of four kids, groceries, gas, mortgage, schooling and other expenses come first, before we even think about ourselves. Our budget has tightened in the context of inflation due to the pandemic. So, for a long time, my main goals were to meet the financial and emotional needs of my family.
When the monthly Child Tax Credit payments started coming in, it felt like a rebirth of the American dream for our family. When my husband graduated, we took the leap of faith to start our own private practice, serving people with mental disorders and related sleep disorders.
Knowing that we could afford the essentials even if times got tough, and even if our business stagnated or failed, thanks to monthly budget support from the CTC, we now had a safety net that gave us the confidence to moving forward in our new venture to serve the community and give our family the flexibility we now needed for my health and to raise our young family.
The Child Tax Credit was reformed in 2021 as part of the U.S. bailout to benefit all families, regardless of tax liability, and to ship in monthly installments of $250 or $300 per child depending their age. That change — bringing U.S. family benefits in line with most other developed countries — expired Jan. 1. The inflation continues and the difficulties of managing a mental health practice during a pandemic of physical illness have not expired, however.
Our family is feeling the immediate effects of the loss of the monthly child tax credit. Our new private mental health practice hangs in the balance as we battle inflation and a pandemic that will not subside. We are forced to ask ourselves: will our country leave behind parent business owners in times of need?
We weren’t the only parents starting their own business through CTC; a study based on Census Pulse data from the Social Policy Institute shows some 300,000 low-income parents are newly self-employed since these payments began in July.
Some have speculated that we need to end payments to curb inflation. Leaving aside the fact that CTC beneficiaries like us are on the front line of rising prices, the Federal Reserve mentions in an analysis of the effect of the US bailout on inflation that it has been minimal compared to that of the pandemic.
Likewise, the benefits of the CTC program far outweigh any negative impact it might have on the economy. Take our business for example. We had to cut all of our advertising budget to make sure we were spending enough on our kids. As any business owner knows, advertising is key. new customers keep the doors open.
Last year, Senator Mitt Romney proposed an alternative version of the CTC, demonstrating that this kind of common-sense, pro-family, pro-work politics doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. This is the kind of leadership our members of Congress need to show. Negotiations may end up reducing the benefit, forcing us to show proof of income or kicking the wealthiest recipients out of the program. That’s fine with us, a reformed program is clearly better than nothing at all.
Families like ours took a huge risk starting new businesses last year. We’ve done it for our children, but it won’t be them alone who will benefit as we provide our goods and services for years to come. Few would suggest that mental health services are no longer needed after the past two years. But everything is in danger because our budget takes a huge hit.
It’s an understatement to say that families like ours desperately need the relief that monthly CTC brings. I ask Romney, Senator Mike Lee and the Utah House delegation, on behalf of parents like me, to support a monthly CTC renewal. Our children, our business, and our part of the American dream depend on it.
Megan Curtis, RN, lives in Woods Cross.