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    Friday, August 19, 2022

    Residents urged to apply for child tax credit

    New London — The Lamont administration came to New London on Tuesday as part of its statewide child tax credit media tour.

    Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and state Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, a co-chair of the state legislature’s finance committee, along with Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, New London Mayor Michael Passero and members of the Thames Valley Council for Community Action, or TVCCA, touted the tax credit during a news conference at City Hall.

    “This is money we do not want to see go wasted. This is something that you deserve, this is something that (Scanlon) started a few years ago that I was happy to co-sign and try and advocate for to come to fruition, and now it’s here,” Nolan said on the City Hall steps Tuesday afternoon. “In June, we will set aside time where people can apply by computers at the library and in the community room. I will host a couple events. We’ll invite TVCCA to come down and help us ... We want to make sure that we have enough outlets for people to come and sign up for this money that we worked hard to get.”

    Connecticut families can apply for the tax credit — worth $250 per child — starting June 1. State residents who meet income requirements and can claim one or more dependent children younger than 18 years old are eligible for the rebate. Applicants must make $100,000 or less if single or married and filing separately, $169,000 or less if head of household and $200,000 or less if married and filing jointly. The credit accounts for about $150 million in tax relief. People can apply online by going to portal.ct.gov/DRS and clicking on "2022 CT Child Tax Rebate."

    The credit comes during a gubernatorial election year and as part of the state budget adjustment's tax relief package passed during this spring's legislative session, but Republicans have argued it doesn't go far enough to help struggling families.

    Bysiewicz took the opportunity to extol the budget adjustment passed in the last legislative session, with allocations for child care, crime prevention, mental health, environmental protection “and caring for our most vulnerable.”

    “Our budget that we recently signed into law provides specific relief for lower- and middle-income families with children,” Bysiewicz said. “I wanted to take a moment to urge all eligible families in our state to submit the application so that the rebate can be sent to you without delay. You won’t just be receiving the check, you have to take the affirmative step to apply. It’s very fortunate that here in New London we have an organization that can assist any family in making that application.”

    TVCCA Marketing Director Barbara Crouch and Financial Education Manager Kim Barry shared how the organization can help Connecticut families regarding the tax credit. The group is planning to send out an email blast to a list of 14,000 people about the tax credit, among other plans.

    “We’ll push it on social media of course, and on any of our sites. And hopefully since we have a no-wrong-door policy, if they come in for help with this we may be able to assist them with other things,” Crouch said. “The portal opens June 1st, but we already got a couple of calls this week saying, ‘I can’t get on,’ and we reminded them it’s not going to open until next Wednesday. That’s how much of a need there is, people when they saw it didn’t even look at the date, they immediately tried to go to the link and access it.”

    Barry said the child tax credit goes toward exactly what the TVCCA does: helping low- and moderate-income people with rental payments, food assistance, income tax assistance, transportation assistance and more.

    “This year people in the New London area received $197,380 in (federal) child tax credits,” Barry said. “The hundreds of families that did get the child tax credit, we have a really good methodology to reach out to them via email or phone, to be sure that they’re aware of this (state) credit. We want to make sure through our community partners, through our own social media and website, working with all of the folks here, that we do get the word out, because it’s going to feed our New London economy.”

    City Council President Pro Tempore Reona Dyess and City Councilor James Burke also attended the news conference Tuesday.

    “I know for me I’m the director of the child care program at the drop-in learning center, and one of the things I made sure to get out to my families is fill out that application starting Wednesday, June 1st,” Dyess said. “Make sure you tell a friend, who tells a friend, who shares on Facebook, who shares on Instagram, to make sure our families have the opportunity to receive $250 per child.”

    Burke spoke from personal experience and said he intends to access the tax credit.

    “I have a daughter. I’ll be filling it out first thing on June 1st, but just last night, where I live just up the street, I was standing outside and happened to be able to tell my neighbor about this, and they didn’t know, she has two kids,” Burke said. “We talked about $250, $500 ... it’s not a number. It’s a trip to the grocery store, it’s a payment down on your light bill, but as the middle class and the lower middle class, let’s talk about some other things. How about, it’s to go and buy your kid a new bike? How about it’s to go down to the beach and get one of those deeply discounted beach passes? Or take a night off from cooking and go enjoy one of new London’s beautiful restaurants?”

    Scanlon said part of why he and other legislators pushed for this tax credit is because the expanded federal child tax credit available for the last six months of 2021, “where almost every family in America was getting about a $300 check per month per child,” disappeared due to the “dysfunction of our political system in Washington.”

    “All these families were out there saying, ‘Wait a minute, I was relying on these things,’” Scanlon said. “As Rep. Nolan talked about, I’ve been fighting to institute this program here in Connecticut, so that while we can’t match what the federal government can do in terms of doing it every month, we can do our part to help families that are hurting right now.”

    During a news conference in Hartford last week, Scanlon said he and Bysiewicz would be visiting seven cities in the state to raise awareness about the tax credit opportunity. The Department of Revenue Services also has been sending informational postcards to 300,000 eligible households.

    s.spinella@theday.com

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