Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill that will pay parents in households with qualifying children up to $12,000 a year.

Hawley's bill, The Parent Tax Credit, will give single parents with a child under 13 years old $6,000 and $12,000 for married parents. Qualifying parents could choose to receive the payments directly through automatic advances, or in one lump sum when they file their tax return.

Senator Hawley said in the release:

Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy. Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences. American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.

According to the release the Parent Tax Credit will be available to households with a qualifying child under the age of 13. To receive the credit, single parent households must report prior-year earnings equal or greater than earned income from 20 hours per week of work at the federal minimum wage, an earnings threshold of $7,540.

The threshold is the same for single parent households and households with married parents and there is no income phase out. Married couples receive double the benefit in what Hawley's release calls an "explicit marriage bonus."

Of course, Hawley has included a marriage incentive in the bill. Because somehow, someway, there has to be strings tied to the money. And even though a single parent might benefit more from having more money to help raise their child. We have to penalize people who got out of a bad marriage; or who chose to raise a child alone.

Hawley says, "American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids." He's right. And that includes families with one parent because the marriage didn't work out. The teenage parent who wasn't truly old enough to deal with being a mom or dad but chose the hard path of keeping their child. The death of a parent. Or any other of the many reasons kids wind up in single parent homes.

In fact set an amount. $6,000 or $12,000 or something in-between and give it to all qualifying families. Paying some families a bonus because they're married isn't really a bonus. It's a penalty on those who choose a path other than a traditional family structure. And that's just wrong.

The preceding is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Townsquare Media Sedalia / Warrensburg. 

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