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States Look to Promote Benefits of Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is often described as one of the most effective antipoverty tools available, because it's a refundable tax credit that flows directly to working low-income citizens. It rewards work, increases economic mobility, reduces inequality, and improves children's health.
However, too often families who need the credit the most are unaware of their eligibility. Policymakers have been working to solve this problem in 2017, and a number of states are now considering legislation that would help promote awareness of their respective state programs. States such as Maine have adopted January 27 as EITC Awareness Day, a simple approach that helps amplify the issue and allows state bureaucracies to promote the benefit. Other states such as Maryland, New York, and Oregon are considering providing funding to state departments of labor to help better promote the EITC directly to those who qualify.
By providing tax credits to people currently in the workforce, the EITC increases employment and encourages people, especially single mothers, to work more hours. In combination with the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC), the federal EITC lifted some 10 million people above the poverty line in 2014, 5 million of them children, and raised the incomes of another 22 million people. A state EITC would also put more money in the pockets of people likely to spend it at local businesses to buy groceries or pay for child care or other basics.
Common Sense Kids Action supports the state-based EITC policy, because it offers a cash-back tax credit available to qualifying low- and moderate-income working individuals and families. Evidence from the federal EITC shows that it helps recipients improve their economic stability and that kids from recipient families perform better in school.
Twenty states are currently considering policies that would create, expand, promote, or retract EITC benefits. Contact your legislator today in support of the EITC.
Interested in learning more about our advocacy efforts around the EITC? Join us -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!