Remarks from Gloria Cabrera on the impact of expanded family tax credits during the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition celebratory event November 8, 2023

On November 8, 2023, the Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition, led by Children’s HealthWatch, hosted an event at the Massachusetts State House celebrating the expansion of family tax credits. Bill champion Representatives Decker and Vargas and Senators DiDomenico and Eldridge spoke, and there were presentations from coalition members about the impact the newly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and Child and Family Tax Credit will have. Gloria Cabrera, a One Family alum, VITA volunteer, and single mom of four children also shared how these tax credits affect her ability to provide for her family. Read her remarks below:

Hello everyone. I am excited to be here to celebrate the recent expansion of the Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit and Child and Family Tax Credit! My name is Gloria, I am a single mom of four children. I currently work for the DTA office in Southbridge as a SNAP case manager and am currently working on my MBA at Fitchburg State University. I’m also a volunteer with my community’s VITA tax preparation assistance program which helps low-income families file their taxes for free. In addition, I’m also a graduate of the One Family Scholars program, which helped me earn my associates and bachelor’s degree in business administration. 

Over the years, as a young single mom working towards a college degree, I have faced many hardships. One of the things that has helped me make ends meet is the EITC and child tax credit money that I get every year. I have been able to use that money to buy my first car. Before I got my car, it was really hard to get to and from work and school, which was a huge barrier to making progress.. Most of the time I would miss the bus or wait for hours for the bus to come, which caused me to be late or miss class as well as be late to work.

Thanks to the car that I bought with my tax credits, I’ve been able to move ahead with my education and my career. Another way that tax credit money has helped me was paying off overdue bills and credit card debt. Every year it gets hard to pay off electricity or gas bills that start piling on during the winter. Receiving tax credit money has helped me relieve stress by paying off those bills.

And as a VITA volunteer who helps other low-income and moderate-income families access these credits, I have seen first-hand what a huge impact these tax credits have on other families like mine.  When I work with clients who are doing their taxes every year, I see how eager they are to do their taxes because they are either behind on bills or they rely on this money to buy everyday essentials. 

The landmark expansions of the EITC and Child Family Tax Credit passed last month will mean more money in families’ pockets to pay their bills, afford essentials, and support their children. This tax year, I will receive an additional $1,500 in family tax credits; in 2024, with the second increase to the Child and Family Tax Credit, I will receive another $520, for a total increase of $2,000 annually. Lifting the dependent cap means that I will now receive support for all of my children.

This increase would mean a lot for me. The extra money will help me pay for past due bills such as credit card debt and graduate student loans. It would help me buy everyday household items, buy clothes for my children as they grow up quickly and this money will also help me save for emergencies. As the cost of living goes up, I also know there are a lot of families that would benefit from this extra money as well. 

As a VITA volunteer, I understand how important it is not only to make these policy changes but to also make sure families across the state are informed and able to access the improved credits. I thank the Legislature for making these meaningful improvements, and now urge you to commit to raising awareness in your communities so that all families are able to benefit from this historic expansion. Thank you!