Ohio Food Banks Say Tax Credit Could Help Reduce Hunger

By Nadia Ramlagan
Ohio News Connection

Ohio lawmakers are considering a proposal that would implement a statewide refundable child tax credit. Regional food banks say the bill would help more families meet basic needs and reduce strain on local food pantries struggling to meet demand amid persistent inflation.

Sarah Kuhns, advocacy and engagement manager with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said 8 in 10 Ohioans are relying on food banks because of high prices and are being forced to choose between groceries and paying for basic needs such as utilities, medication and transportation.

She said tax credits have proved to be effective for helping families reach financial stability.

“We saw during 2021, when the federal child tax credit was being paid out monthly to families, we saw a decrease in the number of households with children that we were seeing in our lines,” Kuhns said.

According to data from the Economic Policy Institute, federal child tax credit payments reduced child poverty to the lowest level on record, impacting more than 3 million children nationwide.

The Thriving Families Tax Credit was introduced last fall by state Reps. Lauren McNally of Youngstown, D-59th, and Casey Weinstein of Hudson, D-34th. It would provide a benefit of up to $1,000 per child for children younger than 5, and up to $500 for children ages 6 to 17. Families earning less than $65,000 annually would qualify for the full benefit amount.

Kuhns said households of color and those from marginalized communities have been hardest hit by inflation.

“It also means leveling the playing field – 83.7% of Black families and 79% of Hispanic families in Ohio would receive at least some of the tax credit from the Thriving Families Tax Credit,” she said.

A 2023 statewide survey of Ohio by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks found 68% of households had to choose between purchasing food and transportation or gas.

Pictured at top: Photo via Adobe Stock.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.