Assembly Member Santiago Introduces Bill for a CA Child Tax Credit for Low-Income Families

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB 2589, a bill to give a $2,000 tax credit payment per child to families earning under $30,000 per year. AB 2589 is sponsored by the CalEITC Coalition, United Ways of California, GRACE/End Child Poverty California, Economic Security Project Action, and Golden State Opportunity. This bold proposal would ensure that 2 million children in California will be kept from falling into poverty by providing a 1-time payment of $2000 per child dependent to California residents who made less than $30,000 in 2021 and file their taxes. The bill would also increase the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) minimum tax credit to about $255 per eligible tax filer. Together, AB 2589 would benefit approximately 5 million Californians, including 2 million children.

“While the federal government’s child tax credit has expired, California must lead the nation in providing support to our low-income families through a child tax credit payment, in addition to  increasing the CalEITC minimum payment,” said Assembly Member Santiago. “Low-income residents risk falling back into the depths of poverty if we do not support them. With our record budget surplus, now is the time to invest in working families.”

"The expanded federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) has played an enormous role in helping families with low incomes," said Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO at GRACE/End Child Poverty in California. "Research has shown that families struggling to get by on less than $35,000 have relied on their CTC payments to pay for food, utilities, housing, clothing, and education expenses. As this federal child poverty solution expires, the well-being of children and families are at risk. California needs to take action now by enacting our own version of the federal CTC to counteract the loss of federal support and ensure that millions of California families will continue to receive this life-changing money that they deserve and are relying on."

"About 1.7 million children in California are on the brink of slipping back into poverty or are already there since the federal Child Tax Credit expansion stalled in Congress,” said Pete Manzo President & CEO of United Ways of California. “Our Real Cost Measure study also shows that over half of households with young children struggle. Tax credits are proven to improve lifetime outcomes for children, and the CalEITC and the YCTC have been bright spots, but with our current surplus we can do more to fight child poverty. We commend Assemblymember Santiago for his leadership and strongly support AB 2589 to provide a $2000 per child California Child Tax Credit Payment and establish a CalEITC Minimum Credit."

“We applaud Assemblymember Santiago for introducing the California Childhood Tax Credit that builds upon the Young Child Tax Credit that many early childhood advocates spearheaded. The science is clear that the toxic stress created by poverty and particularly deep poverty impacts the brain development of young children and in utero”, said Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Chief Deputy Director of First 5 CA. “To mitigate the long-term negative impact of poverty, we must address root causes and AB 2589 takes us closer to ensuring that all children can have the safe, stable, nurturing environments necessary of healthy development.“

"The Child Tax Credit promised working families that they could count on our financial support. Families are already struggling again because Congress couldn't keep that promise," said Amy Everitt, President of Golden State Opportunity. "California can't afford to let our children slip back into poverty. We must do everything we can to do right by our kids."

“There’s a reason why anti-poverty champions like Assemblyman Santiago are fighting to set a minimum income floor for the CalEITC Credit and replace the now-expired federal Child Tax Credit – it’s because policies that put cash directly into the pockets of people who need it most simply work,‘’ said Teri Olle, California Campaign Director of the Economic Security Project. “Recognizing the power of direct cash payments is an essential component in eliminating poverty. We’re counting on the California State Legislature to pass AB 2589 and continue to be a leader in addressing poverty and income inequality.”

The expanded Federal Child Tax Credit expired in December 2021, leaving 7.8 million children under 18, or 86% of all children in California and their families without the increased aid that helped them through the pandemic. Even more concerning, 1.7 million children in California are estimated to fall back into poverty or deep poverty without action on a Child Tax Credit payment. With President Biden’s Build Back Better plan stalling in Congress, it is time for California to step up and prevent California’s families from slipping back into poverty by investing in the California Child Tax Credit and the CalEITC payment on a one-time basis.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization and the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.