PENNSYLVANIA — Earlier today, PA State Senator Marty Flynn, Rep. Bridget Malloy Kosierowski and Rep. Kyle Mullins joined NEPA families for a virtual press conference to highlight the local impact of Democrats’ tax cut for middle class families, which hit bank accounts for the third time this week. Over the last 3 months, these Child Tax Credits have slashed hunger rates across the country, kept three million children out of poverty, and has made it easier for parents in Pennsylvania to save for their children’s education

A recording of the virtual press conference can be found here

Check out some of the highlights below: 

Lauren McCurdy, Mother of 4 from Mountain Top, Community activist and current school board director for Crestwood school district:

“I am a mother of 4 children, ages from 12 to 3. I’m managing a household of four generations currently. And these last many months have been very difficult for all of us. My mother was unemployed for a while. My father was a frontline worker in the COVID unit, one of our local hospitals. My husband had to continue working all throughout the pandemic. And I was very fearful all the time of what might happen. 

I was just so desperate to keep things together. You know I can’t always buy the clothes that my kids really should have. I have to buy things that are cheaper and they come unraveled in the laundry after a short period of time. When I am called out for meetings sometimes five and six hours in the evening and I didn’t have time to make dinner. It’s been really great to have this little bit of extra money in my pocket and think, ‘Okay, today I can stop and I can pick something up for everyone, so I don’t have to come home and start cooking at nine o’clock at night and hopefully feed everybody by 11.’ These things really matter. Time is money and money is time, and a quality of life for a parent is really about giving your children a little bit extra time and when you’re rushing around all the time and you can’t provide those precious hours in the evening before bed. Because you’re making up for what you cannot provide during the day. That’s what this tax credit has allowed us to do here.

I went to get my car inspected recently. It’s got 110,000 miles on it. And when they told me it was going to be $1500 and pass inspection. My first thought was, well I still have to buy groceries. But then my second thought was, it’s okay. I have this little cushion, and we’ll make this work. I finally was able to take my daughter for an orthodontic evaluation recently, I was very fearful of how I was going to be able to afford that. 

Now I have this little bit of extra money in the bank and I feel like I can finally take care of some of the things that many other families would consider negligible expenses. But to me, they’re really big. I’m able to do the things that I should be able to do with my kids now because I just have this little bit of extra support.”

Amber Viola, Single mother from Scranton, Veteran, Community Activist and Human Resources Director for the City of Scranton: 

“I’m a mother, I have a four year old daughter, I am a single parent, and I am a veteran. The reason I actually left active duty service was because I had a baby and I was getting ready to go back out on the ship and be deployed again. And as a single parent, I needed to be able to take care of my child. So that’s why I ended up moving back home to Scranton. I went to Marywood. I was also paying childcare costs around $600 a month for my daughter to go to daycare.

When we got our first stimulus check, I literally got it in the car in the morning and took my daughter to the dentist, and took myself to the dentist and we spent the whole thing in one visit because both of us had things that we needed to get taken care of. Some of these things are necessities that you kind of go without for a while because you don’t really have that extra cushion or extra money to really pay for things.

Thankfully, I still had a job during the pandemic. I have so many friends who are also mothers and single parents who weren’t able to do that, and they ended up leaving the workforce because they didn’t have childcare or at that point their hours were reduced so they couldn’t afford childcare. A lot of people who lost hours of work and lost paychecks and money had to kind of make the decision to pull themselves out of the workforce. For me, being a single parent, one income household, the extra money definitely helps. I used the first child tax credit that I received to pay for the end of summer camp bill and to start my daughter into the fall semester for school. I had a humongous bill of about $900 and I was able to feel okay with going ahead and paying that because I knew that I would still be able to buy groceries and put gas in my car and pay my rent. Childcare for me is my second biggest bill besides just my rent, and it’s a huge burden for a lot of people.

This really helps the people of Scranton and people of Pennsylvania, to really just try to get their foot in the door, and, and get on their feet. 

Whether or not you think parents deserve it or not, I think the kids do, and they shouldn’t be hungry. They should be able to go to school and have lunch, and be able to come home and have dinner. And, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about helping the kids, and giving them hope for a future, and you know kind of building on a foundation because if they don’t have a good foundation. 

Thank you so much, President Biden and elected officials on here for really putting your money where your mouth is and really trying to help us everyday people.

Senator Marty Flynn, Pennsylvania State Senator (22nd District):

“This incredible tax credit will lift 4.1 million children above the poverty line, basically cutting the number of children in poverty by 40%. Which is huge. And more importantly it will help 1.1 million out of deep poverty. In Pennsylvania, this tax credit will be helping out 2 million children. Lifting 140,000 children in PA, out of poverty. It’s basically supercharging our economy around northeastern Pennsylvania by investing $30.8 million into the local economy. 

But, we’ve been met with opposition, both in the State House and Senate, and federally in the Congress and Senate Republicans refuse to make investments into people’s lives by funding these social programs statewide. The Republican majority just want to store the money away for a rainy day fund. When the house is burning for a lot of people, they’re struggling to make ends meet through this pandemic, especially with their childcare, they can’t afford it. They can’t go to work, they have to stay home with their children. It’s forcing hardship, and there’s no need for that when we have these funds. Thankfully, President Biden got this package through for the American people and the people of Pennsylvania, which is huge. 

Rep. Kyle Mullins, Pennsylvania State Representative (112th district):

“This is a very big deal for families across Pennsylvania and across our great country. But there are, As we know very well. There are names and faces behind the numbers by the dollar figure behind that monthly tax credit. A great number of my constituents, our families, are trying to make ends meet. And so many people we represent like friends, family, neighbors, and fellow community members understand that the cost of everything is so hard to keep up with sometimes, the cost of childcare costs, diapers, etc. And that’s why I’m so proud of President Biden and the Democrats in Congress for not only walking or talking to talk for putting their money where their mouth is.  I think it’s fair to say that a significant portion of these tax credits will be benefiting children and families who live in Republican districts where their representatives and senators oppose the plan. But that gets back to democratic ideals — that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what color state you live in or what color district you live in. Democrats intend to stand by working families. We don’t just talk to talk, but we’d like to follow through and I’m so proud that at the federal level we’ve been able to do that. 

Representative Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, Pennsylvania State Representative (114th district) 

The labor force participation rate for women dropped to its lowest point since 1987, and even before the pandemic, many families struggled to access quality affordable childcare. The Federal early childhood programs reached only a fraction of eligible children and families about five out of six eligible children do not receive federal early childhood benefits, and only about 33% of eligible children have access to Headstart programs. The American Rescue Plan included $39 billion for child care and $1 billion just for the Headstart, to help providers reopen safely, and to support parents in accessing care. 

One in five working age adults said childcare was the reason they were not working. That’s why this American Rescue Plan has measures to support childcare providers, as well as helping parents afford the cost of childcare. We are tackling this issue from all sides, on a state level as well. Thanks to our president, President Biden and the Democrats, and no thanks to Republicans in Congress, unanimously oppose the relief plan. The expanded Child Tax Credit continues to provide additional monthly relief, up to $1800 per child of families, to families of 2,360,000 children in Pennsylvania. And that’s helping lift 140,000 children out of poverty. This expanded Child and Dependent Care Credit. It also will increase employment, and increased earnings, especially for African Americans, single parents, and low income families and those mothers under the age of 25.