To the Editor,

Minnesota has an opportunity this legislative session to do something bold: significantly reduce child poverty and all of its lifelong lingering impacts. With a significant budget surplus, we cannot argue there isn’t enough funding to make a significant impact. This is the moral thing to do, but also one of the smartest things we can do.

The federal Child Tax Credit showed us the way. Now, Minnesota can pick up where the federal government failed. The Governor’s Minnesota Child Tax Credit proposal of $1,000 per child under age 18 would be one of the largest investments in Minnesota’s children, reducing child poverty by around 25 percent. Research on the federal Child Tax Credit showed a particularly powerful poverty reduction in rural communities.

When we cut child poverty, we’re making an important investment in growing the middle class and our future workforce, critically important for Greater Minnesota communities. Research shows that poverty—and the barriers that come with it, including food insecurity and unstable housing— shortchange children’s futures. But research also shows that programs, such as a Child Tax Credit, that reduce poverty improve children’s long-term health and educational and economic outcomes, benefitting the state as a whole.

Our state’s long-term success depends on the success of all our children and their guardians, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or zip code. When more children in rural communities are free from the weight of poverty, our communities are better positioned to thrive. The choice is clear. With the budget surplus, let’s start by focusing on children furthest from opportunity with a new state Child Tax Credit.

Nancy Jost, West Central Initiative Director of Early Childhood