We are two moms of Baltimore City public school children, and we speak for a lot of Maryland parents when we say the last year has been tough. Many of us have lost jobs, wages and loved ones.
The child care supports that Tracie put in place for her military spouse’s overseas assignment fell apart, forcing her to work full-time while overseeing virtual learning for her elementary school child. And the pandemic caused the loss of over half of Stephanie’s income, leading to a stressful work search while overseeing her daughter’s transition to middle school online.
While things have certainly improved from where we were as a country one year ago, a lot of us are still struggling to make ends meet. Thankfully, more help is on the way. This week, thanks to the American Rescue Plan passed by President Joe Biden and Maryland congressional Democrats, parents across Maryland will get some much-needed financial relief when the child tax credit expansion goes into effect. Eligible parents will receive up to a $3,000 credit for every child between the ages of 6 and 17, and $3,600 for every child under 6. More than a million Maryland children will benefit from this expansion, which parents began receiving in monthly installments on Thursday.
Unfortunately, Gov. Larry Hogan opposed the American Rescue Plan and the help it’s bringing to Maryland families. When he was asked by a reporter earlier this year if he would have voted for the legislation, Governor Hogan answered, “I don’t think I would have.” His disinterest in supporting Maryland families doesn’t get much clearer than that.
This isn’t the only issue where Governor Hogan has been out of touch with Maryland families. Last month, he announced that he was prematurely ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits. Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who are struggling to find work and child care rely on these benefits to feed their families right now, and our governor tried to pull the rug out from under them. Thankfully, unemployed Marylanders challenged the governor’s decision in court and several courts ruled against him, reinstating the pandemic benefits.
It shouldn’t be this hard. Struggling Marylanders shouldn’t have to go to court to force their governor to help them. But Governor Hogan isn’t listening. These days, he seems more interested in scoring political points and raising his profile with national Republicans than in doing the job he was elected to do.
It should come as no surprise that it was recently reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was courting Governor Hogan to run for United States Senate next year. Like Larry Hogan, Mitch McConnell vigorously opposed the American Rescue Plan. This legislation brought lifesaving aid to millions of Americans. It helped us recover from the pandemic by putting money into working Americans’ pockets and providing funding for vaccines, and it helped bring our economy back to life this year. Now, it’s about to deliver thousands of dollars in aid to Maryland parents.
Thanks to the child tax credit expansion, 353,000 Maryland children under 17 who previously didn’t benefit from the credit now will. It will lift tens of thousands of Maryland children out of poverty. All together, it will benefit at least 85% of children under 18.
As parents, our ultimate responsibility is to take care of our children and do everything we can to ensure they have the opportunity to succeed. The child tax credit expansion is going to help parents in our state do just that. How could Larry Hogan possibly oppose this? But by opposing the American Rescue Plan, he did. And Maryland parents will remember that. Moms like us certainly will.
Stephanie Safran (email@example.com) is a teacher, researcher and mom to a Baltimore City Schools middle schooler. Tracie Guy-Decker (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a writer, educator and mom to a Baltimore City Schools elementary schooler.