Puerto Rico Child Tax Credit Proposal Attracts Bipartisan Senate Support

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) has joined S 698, the Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019, as a cosponsor. The bill was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) last year, and is cosponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as well as Senator Scott.

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) gives an income tax credit of up to $2,000 for each child in a household. This includes kids up to age 16. $1,400 of the credit is refundable. This means that a household owing nothing in income taxes can receive a payment of as much as $1,400 even though they pay no tax at all.

The full credit is available to individuals earning as much as $200,000 or married couples earning up to $400,000.

In the States, families receive this credit for their first child and all other children. In Puerto Rico, the credit does not apply to the first or second child. So a family living in Florida with three children could receive up to $6,000, while a family in Puerto Rico would receive up to $2,000 for their three children.

In 2018, the average family size in Puerto Rico was just 2.8 people. Few families have as many as three children, so most families in Puerto Rico are not eligible for the CTC at all.

Read the full text of the bill.

Senator Scott

Senator Rick Scott is currently serving his first term as a Florida senator. He served two terms as Governor of Florida.

“As the new U.S. Senator from Florida, I am committed to fighting for Puerto Rico in Congress and making sure families on the island have their shot at living the American Dream.,” Scott said when he became a senator. “I vowed to be Puerto Rico’s voice in the U.S. Senate, and that will never change.”

Scott is a longtime supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico.

Senator Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio has been serving the people of Florida since 2011. He is also a longtime supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico.

Like Scott, Rubio has repeatedly supported disaster funding and other types of assistance for Puerto Rico. As a member of the 2016 Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico,  Rubio endorsed an expansion of the Child Tax Credit in Puerto Rico to make a difference for the Island’s economic position.

Senator Menendez

Senator Menendez introduced the Child Tax Credit Equity bill, as well as previous bills such as the Puerto Rico Stability and Recovery Package.  He is the current bill’s primary sponsor.

Menendez is a reliable supporter of economic assistance for Puerto Rico.  Like Sen. Rubio, he was a member of the 2016 Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico and endorsed an expansion of the Child Tax Credit for Puerto Rico.  The Task Force’s recommendation on CTC was unanimous.

Senator Warren

Senator Warren has been a strong supporter of financial assistance for Puerto Rico and has been a leader in actions to holds the Trump administration accountable for its Hurricane Maria response.  She has spoken in favor of “self-determination” for Puerto Rico but not taken a stand on the legitimacy or  Congressional viability of various status options that have been presented to the people of Puerto Rico over time, such as “Commonwealth,” statehood, or independence with or without Free Association.

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