ELIZABETH — Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Friday that he is working to permanently expand tax credits that were temporarily boosted as apart of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a move he said could help middle class families across the country.
“I’ve tried to help coordinate a full court press in America to make the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit changes permanent in the United States of America, so we can join our industrial peers and invest in America’s children,” he said during a press event in Elizabeth with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Gov. Phil Murphy and others to discuss the American Rescue Plan Biden signed into law on Thursday.
Booker said he has spoken with the White House and business leaders on the matter. The new stimulus bill temporarily enhances the Child Tax Credit to a maximum of $3,600 per child for children under 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17, up from $2,000. The tax credits would also be available in monthly payments. The Earned Income Tax Credit almost tripled the maximum credit from $543 to $1,502.
Menendez said that in New Jersey alone, the boosted Child Tax Credit for this year would benefit 560,000 children who were not previously eligible and lift 90,000 children out of poverty.
“This is the biggest, most audacious anti-poverty initiative our nation has undertaken in generations,” Menendez said.
State and local aid: New Jersey will receive $10.2 billion in state and local aid from the coronavirus relieve package, with the lion’s share — $6.4 billion — going to the state, $1.8 billion going to the state’s 21 counties and $1.7 billion earmarked for individual municipalities. The additional aid could prevent layoffs in the public sector, which Menendez said could help economic recovery.
“It makes little difference whether someone gets a paycheck from a big corporations or local government,” he said. “When families lose a source of income, the pain ripples throughout the community.”
Menendez also defended the size of the relieve package — one of the largest in U.S. history — as necessary to meet the crisis the pandemic had brought.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing here that’s bloated,” he said. “There’s everything here rescues our American family.