Tony Miller a father from Rochester, MN speaks with Ryan Hamilton, Minnesota Catholic Conference's Government Relations Associate about the impact the expanded federal child tax credit had on his family.
Ryan Hamilton: What county do you live in?
Tony Miller: We live in Olmstead county.
Ryan Hamilton: So are you in Rochester?
Tony Miller: Yep. In Rochester.
Ryan Hamilton: Cool. So how many children are in your household?
Tony Miller: One.
Ryan Hamilton: And, what's his or her name and age?
Tony Miller: So Margaret is four years old. She'll be five in October.
Ryan Hamilton: Got it. Got it. And so did you receive the monthly advanced payments of the 20 21 federal child tax credit.
Tony Miller: Yes, we did.
Ryan Hamilton: You could have taken that monthly and gotten probably like $300.
Tony Miller: Yeah. It was $300. Exactly. Yep.
Ryan Hamilton: So how did those credits affect your budget?
Tony Miller: So what those credits did was, we were able to, so Margaret finally, uh, because of the pandemic, she was finally able to go to preschool. Her preschool was about $405 a month. And what that did was we used it to help pay for preschool, but what it also did was it allowed us to do other home improvement projects that needed to be done. So it gave us a cushion, a safety valve. So we could do other things and not just her education, which was important, but it also allowed us to do other things that we had to do as well.
Ryan Hamilton: Sure. Yeah. Just for the overall good of your household.
Tony Miller: Yeah. So for example, we put a new roof on, which was like falling apart. And obviously that didn't pay for everything. And then also, we had to put a new furnace in, so we were able to be a little more creative with our finances and budget with that extra $300. Which again, doesn't sound like a lot, but when you add it up, it is a lot. At the same time, it really did make a difference. There are people that really try to make ends meet and this made that possible.
Ryan Hamilton: How has these last few months of rising inflation affected or impacted your budget and your quality of life?
Tony Miller: It's definitely made it harder. Like for example, gas prices. So one of the things my four year old loves to do is go on a drive. It used to be like $35 fill up the tank. Now it's like $55. So it's, it's hard to explain to a four year old, "Yeah, we're not gonna drive to Winona today. As much as I would love to." So we'll still go, but just not as many times.
Ryan Hamilton: So how would you feel about the state of Minnesota picking up where the federal government left off and providing some sort of child tax rebate or credit?
You know what, I think that would be a great idea not only just for financing. You know, finances are important, but it also sends a message to the value of the family union. Saying, "Hey, it's important for a family. And we care about the family." And to me, it supports the idea of the family. Just says it would support if your boss said, "Hey, Tony, you need to take some days off." That's important. That means you're valued. So, I think that would be really a really good thing.
Ryan Hamilton: What are your family dynamics? Do you both you and your spouse work?
Tony Miller: I work full time at the hospital in a kitchen, and my wife she works part-time teaching music lessons.
Ryan Hamilton: So what did you all do for childcare?
Tony Miller: Well, we kind of switch off because I work overnights. Yeah, we don't, we can't afford childcare. Like we just can't.
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