Politics

Top Vermont lawmaker proposes $1,200 child tax credit modeled after the feds

Rep. Janet Ancel, D-Calais, listens during a meeting at the Statehouse in Montpelier on July 30. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

As payments for the expanded federal tax credit end, one top Vermont Democrat is proposing the state create its own.

House Ways & Means Chair Janet Ancel, D-Calais, has pitched a plan to create a refundable child tax credit of $1,200. Per H.510, qualifying families could claim one credit for every child 6 years old or younger. Families making more than $400,000 a year, or single parents with incomes above $200,000, would not qualify. 

An estimated 51,000 children in Vermont would benefit. 

Ancel’s tax credit proposal is modeled, in part, on child tax credits in other states as well as at the federal level. During the pandemic, Congress temporarily expanded the federal tax credit for qualifying families to $3,600 per child 6 or under. 

“When I first sort of learned about the federal credit, I just thought, well, that’s really brilliant. I mean, that’s really the way that kind of assistance ought to be targeted,” Ancel said.

The expanded federal credit lifted millions of children out of poverty across America, but payments have now ended. Democrats in Washington tried to preserve the expansion in the Build Back Better social spending package championed by President Joe Biden, but its prospects appear dim. The lone holdout in the Senate keeping Build Back Better in limbo, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has expressed reservations about the tax credit.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott teased his own tax relief package for retirees, middle-income families and young workers during his State of the State speech last week. More details are expected Tuesday when he delivers his annual budget address.

Scott’s press secretary, Jason Maulucci, said the governor has not had a chance to review Ancel’s proposal.

Democratic leadership expressed reticence last week at the idea of tax cuts floated by the governor, although House Speaker Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, said at the time that any tax cut would need to be “laser-focused” on families with kids. Krowinski supports Ancel’s bill, according to Conor Kennedy, Krowinski’s chief of staff.

As drafted, the tax credit envisioned in H.510 would be expensive. Its estimated price tag — $58.9 million — carries a higher cost than all of the state’s other tax credits combined, according to legislative analysts. The sum is also slightly more than what Vermont currently spends each year on child care subsidies for low-income Vermonters.

“What I’ve proposed is very generous. I think it’d be great if we could do it. But I have been careful to say that this all depends on whether or not there’s money available,” Ancel said.

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Lola Duffort

About Lola

Lola Duffort is a political reporter for VTDigger, covering Vermont state government, the congressional delegation and elections. She previously covered education for Digger, the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire and the Rutland Herald. She has also freelanced for the Miami Herald in Florida, where she grew up. She is a graduate of McGill University in Canada.

Email: [email protected]

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