As a longtime Sister of Mercy, I have had the experience of knowing Mercy educators, health care professionals and women leaders as advocates. Since the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Bangor in 1865, we have been steadfast in upholding our mission to lift the disadvantaged, especially children, in Maine’s cities and towns, as well as on the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy reservations.

Many Maine families are hurting. With the child poverty rate now over 12%, families are struggling to pay higher costs for food, rent, heat, transportation, child care and health care.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act – which has a child tax credit provision. If the Senate follows, the CTC could lift half a million American children above the poverty line. Included in the COVID-era Employee Retention Tax Credit, this is not a new financial burden on taxpayers.

The CTC would benefit 40,000 Maine children. Parents, one of them employed for $32,000 a year, with three kids would receive nearly $2,000 per child for a total near $6,000. A single working parent of two earning $24,000 would add about $2,000 per child, for an extra $4,000. That could make a marked difference in their children’s basic expenses, without being so much money that parents might be motivated not to work.

I urge the full Senate to support our most precious resource: America’s children.

Sister Miriam Therese Callnan, RSM

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