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Free Colleges and Paid Holidays: Biden Prepares 'Family Assistance Plan'

US President Joe Biden is set to propose an additional $ 1,8 trillion federal investment in education, childcare and paid family leave during his first appeal to Congress today, April 28. Writes about it CNN.

Photo: Shutterstock

The massive package, which Biden calls the American Families Aid Plan, is a large part of his efforts to “revitalize” the nation and ensure a fairer recovery. The proposal will also extend or make permanent improvements to several key tax breaks contained in the $ 1,9 trillion bill - Biden signed into law last month.

This is what the American Families Aid Plan includes.

Help pay for childcare

Biden's proposal calls for low- and middle-income families to pay no more than 7% of their income to care for children under 5. Parents earning 1,5 times their state median income would be eligible.

The president also wants to invest more in childcare personnel to bring their wages to $ 15 an hour, up from the standard $ 12,24 hourly rate they received in 2020.

Free community colleges

Biden is proposing a $ 109 billion plan to make two years of community college tuition free. The federal government will cover about 75% of the average tuition fees in each state when the program is fully implemented, and the states will take over the rest. If all states, territories and tribes participate, about 5,5 million students will not pay tuition and fees, according to the White House.

In addition to these measures, Biden will create a $ 39 billion program that provides two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $ 125 who attend four-year colleges and universities that have historically served minorities.

Raising Pell Grants

The President will provide about $ 1400 in additional assistance to low-income students through an increase in the Pell grant. Nearly 7 million students, including many students of color, rely on Pell grants, but their value has not kept pace with the rise in college tuition fees. Students can receive up to $ 6495 for the 2021-2022 academic year. Biden has promised to double the maximum bounty.

Paid family and sick leave

The limited federal-level measure was included in a major federal aid package passed by Congress in March 2020. It provided for up to two weeks of paid sick days for workers who were sick or in quarantine, as well as an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave if they needed to care for a child whose school or kindergarten was closed due to the pandemic. The requirement expired in December, although the government will continue to subsidize employers who decide to offer paid leave until September.

The new American Families Assistance Plan will provide workers with a total of 12 weeks of guaranteed paid parental, family and personal sickness / safety leave. Partial wage refunds will apply to individuals who wish to “find time to bond with a newborn child, take care of a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military service, find protection from sexual abuse, harassment or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness or they need time to cope with the death of a loved one.

The plan will also provide three days of bereavement leave annually, starting in the first year of the plan.

Workers will receive up to $ 4000 a month through a national vacation program that replaces at least two-thirds of their wages. The White House estimates the cost of the program at $ 225 billion over 10 years. Some 30 million private sector workers, many of whom are low-income and part-time workers, did not take paid sick leave before the pandemic.

On the subject: Biden raised the minimum wage in the USA: who will be affected by the changes

Free preschool institutions

Biden is urging the federal government to invest $ 200 billion in universal preschools for all three- and four-year-olds through a national partnership with the states. When fully implemented, the administration estimates it will benefit 5 million children and save the average family $ 13.

According to the White House, the program will be available to families of all income levels. States will have to pay about 50% of the cost when the measure is fully launched. The proposal will be structured to prioritize the most requested areas.

Attracting more teachers

The plan calls on Congress to double the scholarships for prospective teachers from $ 4000 to $ 8000 per year and to expand the program to early childhood educators. The plan calls for an investment of $ 2,8 billion in annual paid residency programs for teachers, $ 900 million in special education teacher development, and $ 400 million in teacher training programs at colleges and universities that have historically served minorities.

The plan will also provide $ 1,6 billion to help current teachers qualify for in-demand specialties such as special education and bilingual education. All employees participating in the pre-k and Head Start programs will earn at least $ 15 per hour as part of this offer.

Additional nutritional support for children

Biden wants to invest $ 25 billion to make Pandemic-EBT summer aid permanent and available to 29 million children who receive free and reduced price meals. The president will also expand the free meals program for children in the poorest areas to qualify for an additional 9,3 million children.

Benefits that can be extended or made permanent

Extended Child Tax Credit

The plan will keep the new expanded child tax credit for another four years. And it will make it completely refundable forever. Democrats passed an annual extension of the tax credit for children as part of the March benefit bill. Families with children under the age of 6 will receive $ 3600 per child, and families with children between the ages of 6 and 17 will receive $ 3000 for each child in 2021.

The extended portion of the loan is available to single parents with an annual income of up to $ 75, heads of households with an income of up to $ 000, and joint returners with an annual income of up to $ 112.

Under the aid bill, families can get half of their total loan on a monthly basis - up to $ 300 for a child under 6 and $ 250 for a child between 6 and 17 - from July through the end of the year. They can then claim the remaining half on their 2021 tax returns. The loan will also be fully repaid in 2021, so more low-income households will benefit from it.

Additional assistance in caring for a child

The President is urging Congress to make ongoing improvements to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit in the Benefit Package. Under this plan, families can get a tax credit for half of their skilled care costs for children under 13, up to a total of $ 4000 per child or $ 8000 for two or more children.

Parents earning less than $ 125 a year are eligible for a full loan, while those earning between $ 000 and $ 125 will receive a partial loan.

Extended Earned Income Tax Credit

The latest package will ensure the continued expansion of earned income tax benefits for workers without children. The Assistance Act increased the size of the loan, nearly tripling the maximum loan and expanding the eligibility for benefits for more childless workers. The minimum age for a loan will be lowered from 25 to 19, and the upper age limit will be abolished. It was the largest increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit since 2009.

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How Biden plans to pay for it

Raising income tax for the rich

Biden wants to change the key bar on Republicans' tax cuts in 2017, bringing the top marginal income tax rate back from 37% to 39,6%. This only applies to those in the top 1% of income.

Capital gains tax rate increase

The proposal will require households earning more than $ 1 million a year to pay higher capital gains taxes, which usually account for the largest share of the wealthy's income. The long-term capital gains of these taxpayers will depend on the maximum marginal rate of return - currently 37%, but according to Biden's plan it will rise to 39,6%.

Taxation of unrealized capital gains

The heirs of wealthy Americans enjoy massive tax breaks. Assets that are transferred to them are valued at the date of death. This can minimize the tax burden on the heirs when they sell the assets. Biden would require heirs to pay taxes on unrealized profits of more than $ 1 million, or $ 2,5 million per couple, combined with existing property benefits. However, family businesses and farms will not have to pay taxes when passing to heirs who continue to run the business.

Closing rates for hedge fund partners and real estate investors

Biden is asking Congress to close the retained interest rate loophole for hedge fund partners to pay the regular rate on their income. Now income is often viewed as capital gains that are subject to lower tax rates. In addition, he wants to remove tax breaks that allow real estate investors to defer tax on exchanging property for profits in excess of $ 500.

Strengthening IRS enforcement

Biden wants to send $ 80 billion to the IRS to fund increased high-income controls. The administration believes that enhanced measures to tackle tax evasion will boost government revenues by $ 700 billion, although some outside experts are skeptical and the Congressional Budget Office is unlikely to forecast such a large revenue.

His plan also requires financial institutions to report account flows, so that investment and business income falls within the type of reporting they already have for wages.

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