Putting families first at the State Capitol

Cycles of abuse, addiction, poor health outcomes, academic under achievement and crime seem impossible to end. All too often, at the heart of these issues is the breakdown of the family. While there is no single cause nor solution, we know that these outcomes exacerbate the breakdown of the family, and when families are economically stable many of these issues can begin to heal.

The Families First Project, an initiative of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, serves to advocate for removing barriers to family stability and economic security so that Minnesotans can get married, stay married and raise a family.

The first fruits of the Families First Project will be seen by many of Minnesota’s families when they file their taxes this year. Through legislation spearheaded by our Families First Project and supported by the testimony of families like yours, Minnesota’s Legislature passed a nation-leading, permanent state-level child tax credit.

So, what does this mean for eligible families? The Child Tax Credit is a reduction in the amount owed on state taxes for a given year. For those who do not owe taxes, the credit is refunded through their tax return. But to receive the credit, it is imperative to file an individual income tax return, regardless of earned income. This credit and other tax benefits like the Working Family Credit, education tax credit, and education subtraction for children’s schooling expenses help put more money back into the pockets of our most important producers — parents.

Navigating tax laws can be challenging, so the Minnesota Catholic Conference has curated a list of resources on the Families First Project website at FamiliesFirstProject.com/CTC.

The Minnesota Child Tax Credit is just the first of the policies we hope to enact through our Families First Project with your help. Because we all come from families, we are all subject-matter experts on the needs of families. No matter your family dynamic nor your current state in life, you have unique expertise that legislators need to hear so they can propose legislation that supports the health, stability, and growth of families across Minnesota.

One such proposal is the Baby Items Sales Tax Exemption Expansion. First-time parents encounter substantial upfront expenses on essential items such as car seats, cribs, strollers, bassinets, mattresses and more that can easily total up to nearly $2,000. To alleviate this burden, we are advocating for the elimination of state sales tax on these big-ticket items, providing parents with nearly $130 in savings. While that may not seem like much in comparison to the full amount spent, we can all appreciate the need to make a dollar stretch further these days.

Another one of the Families First Project proposals seek to create a lifetime exemption on state income tax for women who give birth to four or more children. Recognizing the invaluable contribution of mothers in shaping the future, this initiative aims to provide tangible support for larger families, acknowledging the unique financial challenges they face.

Join us in championing the cause of family economic stability. Help us begin to end the cycle! Ask your legislator to pass the Baby Items Sales Tax Exemption in 2024 by visiting mncatholic.org/actionalerts. Together, let’s build a state where families flourish!

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