Caitlin Jensen, with the early childhood policy organization Zero to Five Montana, said the open-ended tax credit could help offset the costs of housing, transportation, child care and food. She said even a minimal credit has a positive impact on reducing poverty.
But she also said Montanans are sometimes spending close to $15,000 a year per child for child care, and parents are having to consider whether to stop working in order to care for their kids or as they wait for a slot to open at a child-care center.
“Although it does help, it doesn’t come nearly as close to addressing the child care crisis because greater investments are needed to help support and address that issue,” Jensen said.
She, Rose Bender (Montana Budget & Policy Center) and Tirza Asbell, the advocacy director for Montana Women Vote, called for the measure to go further in opening up the qualifications.
Jensen asked Kassmier and the committee to expand the income threshold, add an income limit for married couples like the federal credit uses, and phase the credit out at a higher threshold rather than having it end at $50,000.
“This is important because we wouldn’t want to see a parent losing their eligibility for the credit due to a slight pay increase or household income increase,” she said.