Menendez, Rubio Introduce Legislation to Create Tax Equity for American Families Living in Puerto Rico

Menendez, Rubio Introduce Legislation to Create Tax Equity for American Families Living in Puerto Rico

Bill extends child tax credit to 355,000 families, who would otherwise qualify had they lived on the U.S. mainland

  
WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure parents living in Puerto Rico are entitled to the same tax break given to families living on the mainland.  The Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019 would correct a long-standing discrepancy in the federal tax code that treats 355,000 American families living in Puerto Rico as second class by denying those with one or two children a tax benefit they would otherwise be entitled to had they lived on the U.S. mainland.

“There is zero justification for treating any American citizen as second class based solely on their zip code, let alone when we are talking about the ability for struggling families to care for their our children,” Sen. Menendez said. “Extending the child tax credit benefit to Puerto Ricans with one or two children will provide these families with much needed relief.  Putting more money in people’s pockets will help make families more financially secure and stimulate the local economy at a time when Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.” 

“Giving Puerto Rican families equal treatment for the Child Tax Credit is long overdue,” Sen. Rubio said. “I am proud to join this bipartisan effort for island families.”

The Child Tax Credit Equity for Puerto Rico Act of 2019 amends Section 24 of the tax code and would provide nearly $273 million to families living on the island, helping to reduce poverty and stimulate spending to help local businesses.  Recent studies show children, whose families receive child tax credit, do better in school and are more likely to attend college.

Puerto Rico has the highest poverty rate of anywhere in the United States, according to census data, with the lowest household income, $19,518, and the majority of children on the island living near or under the poverty level, with 39% considered extremely poor. 

Earlier this week, Sen. Menendez joined colleagues in introducing the Equitable Nutrition Assistance for the Territories Act of 2019 to restore Puerto Rico’s, the Northern Mariana Islands’ and American Samoa’s access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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