KGET: Padilla: Help is on the way for struggling families in Kern County

By Eytan Wallace

Senator Alex Padilla pledged help Tuesday for struggling families in Kern County.

“It’s been a tough year to put it mildly,” said California’s newest senator about the impacts of the pandemic across the state and Kern County. During a virtual phone call Tuesday with leaders from the non-profit Community Action Partnership of Kern, Padilla promised that the resources of the Untied States government are dedicated to families in need.

“The good news is both hope and help are on the way,” he said as he touted the recent $1.9 trillion dollar signed into law known as the “American Rescue Act of 2021.” In addition to sending stimulus payments of $1,400 to individuals making less than $75,000 per year, the bill also will help young families and children across the nation, according to Padilla.

The legislation, per Padilla, will allow many parents to reduce their tax bill by claiming a child tax credit. Parents earning less than $75,000 on a single return can claim a tax credit of $300 per month, or $3,600 per year per child less than six years old. For every child younger than 17, but older than six years old, that credit stands at $250 per month per child.

“The intent of the American Rescue Plan aligns with CAPK’s purpose. We are committed to serving all communities as they work to become more equitable and prosperous places to live,” said Jeremy Tobias, CEO of the non-profit Community Action Partnership of Kern. He notes the poverty line stands at an income of $26,500 per year for a family of four.

In a county where roughly 29% of children younger than 18, and 31% of kids aged 0-5 live in poverty, Tobias said the American rescue plan will help.

“This is a monumental step in addressing childhood poverty and the overall war on poverty,” he stated.

Valley Congressmembers David Valadao and Kevin McCarthy have argued the legislation does not focus enough on COVID-related relief and is too expensive.

When asked to respond, Padilla said “it was very intentional to be comprehensive and inclusive in this COVID relief package for the sake of our public health and economic recovery.”

Padilla’s office said $2.5 billion from the legislation will go toward the Central valley, including roughly $314 million to Kern:

Kern County government: $174,588,634

Arvin: $4,112,972

Bakersfield: $96,290,745

California City: $2,672,463

Delano: $14,198,941

Maricopa: $224,368

McFarland: $2,918,665

Ridgecrest: $5,453,533

Shafter: $3,840,041

Taft: $1,745,251

Tehachapi: $2,449,036

Wasco: $5,404,029

Total: $313,898,679

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