Jenniffer González-Colón introduces bipartisan bill to extend the Child Tax Credit to Puerto Rico

by | Jan 8, 2019 | Congress | Comments

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R) of Puerto Rico addressed the United States House of Representatives Floor today urging Congress to act on the extension of the Child Tax Credit for Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, most of the children live under poverty. Fifty eight percent are living under the federal rate of poverty, and 39% living under extreme poverty. Puerto Rico’s child population has dramatically decreased over the last decade due to migration to the United States pressing to act towards the situation that children are facing in the islands.

“Mr. Speaker, today I introduced the Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019. Under current law the Child Tax Credit only applies to families who are raising 3 or more children. 

In comparison, families living in the mainland are able to use this credit for having even 1 or 2 children. 

Small families consisted of one or two children are excluded from receiving this necessary benefit.  

The purpose of the Child Tax Credit is to be a tool to help families offset the expenses of raising children and raise themselves out of poverty.

Mississippi has the highest poverty level of any state. Puerto Rico’s poverty rate, now at 45 percent, is 178 percent higher than Mississippi. 

According to the Census Bureau, Puerto Rico has the lowest household income at $19,775, compared to $43,441 in the state of Mississippi, and $61,372 nationally.

This proposal would help Puerto Rico’s economy and benefit about 355,000 families and 404,000 children. 

I urge my colleagues to support and pass this bill.

Thank you, and I yield back.”

This bill covers a recommendation of the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico to minimize the challenges faced by Puerto Rican workers and maximize their opportunities.

Although most Puerto Rican families do not pay federal income taxes, they do pay federal payroll taxes. Currently, families in Puerto Rico can use these federal payroll taxes to claim the Child Tax Credit if they have 3 children or more. However, only 12% of families in Puerto Rico have 3 or more children.

This proposal translates in approximately $3 billion injection into Puerto Rico’s economy over the next decade, benefiting about 355,000 Puerto Rican families and 404,000 children with an average annual household payment of $770.

This bipartisan bill has the co-sponsorship of Representatives José Serrano (D) of New York, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R) of Pennsylvania and Representative Sean Duffy (R) of Wisconsin.