Tax credits for working families have a proven track record of lifting people out of poverty and putting children on the path to a brighter future. This year, state policymakers have an opportunity to create a new refundable tax credit that would benefit nearly two-thirds of Louisiana children by giving their families additional resources. 

A new report by the Louisiana Budget Project explains how the Strong Families Tax Credit would make our state’s tax structure more fair, help low-and middle-income families make ends meet and provide a boost to the overall economy. 

At a lower cost than what our state spends each year to subsidize film and TV production, the credit would provide a credit of $200 to $500 per child for every Louisiana household earning less than $100,000 per year. 

“Poverty is expensive, and it charges interest,” said Neva Butkus, policy analyst for the Louisiana Budget Project and author of the report. “For decades our state has provided tax credits and subsidies to favored industries, despite evidence that many of these tax breaks have a poor return on investment. But it’s proven that investments in children have long-term positive results for kids, their families and the overall economy.” 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine estimates that child poverty costs the American economy up to $1.1 trillion per year. By reducing child poverty, we can improve the chances that children complete their education, earn more as adults and suffer fewer long-term health conditions associated with poverty. 

“Child poverty in Louisiana is a moral and economic crisis,” Butkus said. “This credit would help parents pay rent, put food on the table and get their car fixed so they can keep going to work. This has lasting effects on their children and can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”