Arkansas moms need our help

Working Arkansas moms are never off the clock. From packing lunches in the morning to tucking kids in at night, moms put in a lot more than a full day’s work. And every dollar they work for is hard earned. That’s why we are celebrating moms on Sunday.

But this Mother’s Day, it’s also important to watch what’s happening in Washington: Congress can help moms right here in Arkansas by making permanent key improvements to tax credits that put money back into the pockets of moms who’ve earned it.

For more than 21 million working moms across the country, including 228,000 in Arkansas, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are important tools to help them make ends meet for their families. By offsetting payroll and income taxes, these credits support work, increase wages, and reduce poverty.

Boosting income means that moms are better able to pay for the very things that allow them to work and improve their family’s situation, such as child care and transportation. Combined, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2013, more than any other federal program besides Social Security.

That’s an incredible success story on its own, but evidence also shows that the EITC and CTC have long-term benefits for moms and their kids.

Children who benefit from the tax credits perform better in school and mothers and their children who benefit are healthier than families that do not. Larger tax refunds, like those provided by these important credits, also boost college enrollment by making college more affordable for low- and moderate-income households.

And some of the best news is that the boost in work effort and earnings extends into the next generation, with more work and higher earnings for children raised by moms who benefit from added income the tax credits provide.

It’s no surprise that the credits have enjoyed strong, bipartisan support over the years.

However, unless Congress acts, millions of moms and kids will lose some or all of the important benefits they receive from the EITC and CTC when key provisions of the EITC and CTC expire at the end of 2017.

As just one example, a mom with two kids working as a health aide taking care of elderly people and earning the minimum wage would lose about $1,725 — her entire CTC — in 2018.

Fortunately, Congress can act to stop 13 million families with 25 million children from losing all or part of their credits, which would cost working families an average of $840 a year. If Congress doesn’t act, 130,000 people in Arkansas, including 67,000 children will be pushed into poverty.

If you want to help working moms right here in Arkansas this Mother’s Day, consider calling our elected officials in Congress and asking them to support moms and kids by making these key provisions of the EITC and CTC permanent.