West Virginia faith leaders call for permanent expansion of child tax credit


CHARLESTON, WV (WSAZ) — Single mom Kristen Olsen says her world changed last summer.

“I got a letter in the mail that said I was going to start getting $300 a month, and I thought that wasn’t true,” she recalls. “We were in so much pain. I think I must have gotten this letter in August of last year and things were so tight in the news, so I think I’ll believe it when it shows up in my bank account…and it does.

She learned she was eligible for the expanded child tax credit, which quickly changed the lives of Kristen and her three boys.

“I’ve used it to help pay my electric bill, my water bill, my grocery bill, I’ve used it to help pay for child care,” he said. she stated. “[It] really made me think ‘wow, it’s not just an amount like money in my account’, it’s a quality of life difference.

Kristen said she was back to pinching the cash when the tax credit expansion ended at the end of 2021.

“We get help and then it’s taken away from us just when we’re starting to appreciate it, to enjoy it,” she said. “Look what the economy has done since January. Gas prices have gone up, groceries have gone up, tell me something that hasn’t gone up.”

On Tuesday, church leaders from across the state gathered at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charleston to call on Catholics in the U.S. Senate, particularly West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

Meg Olson, grassroots mobilization director at the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said expanding the child tax credit is part of the teaching of the Catholic Church.

“In our Catholic social teaching, our tradition, we have something called the preferential option for the poor, which means that first and foremost the most marginalized people are at the centre,” she explained. . “In the Bishops’ pastoral, from 1986, Economic Justice for All, it’s really about putting the marginalized at the center of our economy and putting people above profit.”

Kristen said she hopes families like hers can feel some relief again.

“It doesn’t take away everyone’s problems and it doesn’t solve all of society’s problems,” she said.

“But it’s a good start for a good place to give people a base and a foundation so they can build a better life for themselves.”

In a statement to WSAZ, a spokesperson for Senator Manchin said:

“Senator Manchin has always supported the existing Child Tax Credit which is still in place despite the end of the pandemic emergency enhancement at the end of 2021. He continues to support policies that reward working families hard, because the effects of costly taxes on inflation weigh on their budgets. He also made it clear that any changes to our social safety nets would have to go through regular order.

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