Experts praise Cost-of-Living Refund and EITC expansion

POLICY ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Brookings Institution - Isabel V. Sawhill and Christopher Pulliam  

  • California Budget & Policy Center - Chris Hoene

  • Center for American Progress - Jacob Leibenluft

  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Jared Bernstein

  • Demos

  • Economic Policy Institute - John Schmitt

  • Niskanen Center - Sam Hammond  

  • Roosevelt Institute - Michael Linden (also Executive Director of Groundwork Collaborative)

  • Tax Foundation - Robert Bellafiore

  • Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center - Elaine Maag

  • Washington State Budget & Policy Center - Misha Werschkul

INDIVIDUAL POLICY EXPERTS:

  • Ann O’Leary - Chief of Staff to California Gov. Gavin Newsom

  • Darrick Hamilton - Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

  • Gene Sperling - Former Director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton & President Obama

  • Glenn Hubbard - Dean of Columbia Business School & former CEA Chair under President George W. Bush

  • Indivar Dutta-Gupta - Georgetown Law School Center on Poverty and Inequality

  • Robert Reich - University of California, Berkeley & Former Secretary of Labor

  • William “Sandy” Darity Jr. - Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy

POLITICAL LEADERS:

  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

  • Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17)

  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

  • Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (California)

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Indiana)

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:

  • CA NAACP - Alice Huffman

  • Caring Across Generations - Sarita Gupta

  • Community Change - Dorian Warren

  • Diverse Elders Coalition

  • MomsRising

  • MoveOn

  • National Women’s Law Center - Melissa Boteach

  • Progressive Change Campaign Committee - Stephanie Taylor

  • United Way of Ulster County - Stacey Rein

  • U.S. PIRG

OTHER INDIVIDUALS:

  • Aisha Nyandoro - Springboard To Opportunities

  • Annie Lowrey - The Atlantic

  • Bill Gates

  • Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider - internal medicine physician

  • Ezra Klein - Vox

  • Warren Buffett

COMMUNITY MEMBERS:

  • Voter (Arizona)

  • Voter (Ohio)

  • Dalila (Colorado)

  • Robert (Colorado)

  • Abegale (New York)

  • Claudia (Washington)

  • Brad (Maine)

  • Susan (Maine)

  • Marlene (California)

  • Maks (Illinois)


* Organizations for identification purposes only

Policy Organizations:

Brookings Institution -  Isabel V. Sawhill and Christopher Pulliam

Brookings Report, 1/15/19:

“The Cost-of-Living Refund is one of many good tax credit proposals to help working and middle-class Americans. It is time to stop giving tax breaks to the rich and instead focus on helping those whose incomes have been rising very slowly, if at all.”

California Budget & Policy Center - Chris Hoene

“California can lead on economic security for working families,” Sacramento Bee op-ed with Natalie Foster, 10/29/18:

“Millions of jobs in our state do not pay enough to contend with life’s curveballs, but pay too much to qualify for various types of public assistance. The problem is clear: Working and middle-class people need a break. One effective way to do that is through the Working Families Tax Credit [another name for the Cost-of-Living Refund], a proposal to provide a monthly cash payment to help ensure that no one who works full-time lives in poverty, and that the middle class isn’t living paycheck to paycheck. The policy is based on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the most effective anti-poverty tools. California has its own refundable state tax credit that helps low-wage working families. This could be expanded to provide as much as $2,000 a year and to push further into the middle class to cover half the state’s population, including more than 5 million children. The California Budget & Policy Center projects that this would significantly reduce the state’s poverty rate, the nation’s highest….It’s time for lawmakers to enact meaningful tax reform that puts more money in the pockets of working and middle-class families.”

Center for American Progress - Jacob Leibenluft

 “A staggering 43 percent of American households struggle to afford the basics, such as food, housing, health care, and child care. But refundable tax credits provide a vital lifeline to millions of workers and families, helping to counteract wage stagnation and economic instability. For many low-income households, their tax refund is the largest payment they’ll receive all year. It allows them to put food on the table, pay bills, and afford a bus pass or a car to get to work. It's time to boldly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and support is growing in Congress – and in states around the country – to get it done.”

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Jared Bernstein

Twitter, 9/29/18:

“So many economic policies are bank shots--create an incentive and hope it works. But if we really want to help low-wage earners, two surefire, direct hits are higher min wg's and, as Khanna/O'leary suggest, much-expanded EITC/CTC”

Demos

“Everyone’s America: State Policies for an Equal Say in Our Democracy and an Equal Chance in Our Economy,” Summer 2018, pg. 128:

“Policymakers should establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if they don’t have one already. States with an EITC can expand it, making sure that their EITC is fully refundable and applies to both families with children and childless adults, raising the income level at which the EITC phases out, lowering the qualifying age to claim the credit, expanding the definition of work to include caregivers and students, and allowing eligible workers to request an advance of the credit or a monthly pay-out of their credit.”

Economic Policy Institute - John Schmitt

"Four decades of slow and unequal wage growth have left workers at the middle and the bottom struggling to make ends meet. There is no silver bullet, but direct measures to raise workers' wages should be at the center of any set of solutions. Two of the best policies for raising wages are a much higher federal minimum wage--ideally to $15 per hour by 2024, as proposed in the Raise the Wage Act--combined with a substantially expanded EITC, along the lines proposed in the LIFT the Middle Class Act or the Cost-of-Living Refund Act. Both policies boost workers' take home pay directly and they work well together."

Niskanen Center - Sam Hammond

LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/19:

"Despite the low unemployment rate, millions of Americans still face the spectre of economic insecurity. One surprise expense — one family or medical emergency — is often all it can take to knock a happy household into a financial tailspin. The LIFT the Middle Class Act goes a long way to rectifying this problem, ensuring the majority of working households, up and down the income ladder, have a steady stream of resources for transitioning through turbulent times. The Act builds on the growing mountain of evidence demonstrating cash — money — is often the single best tool policymakers have meeting the diverse and varied needs of households. This Act should be seen as a true tax cut for the average American, putting money into worker's pockets to spend on the things they need and care about, rather than what a distant bureaucracy thinks is best. As an economist, the Act also excites me as a tool for ensuring demand stays high in the face of another recession, thereby helping to buoy the economy as a whole."

Roosevelt Institute - Michael Linden (also Executive Director of Groundwork Collaborative)

“The people are the economy. There's no such thing as a "strong economy" in which the vast majority of workers and families struggle to keep their heads above water. For the last four decades, despite creating more and more value for everyone, workers have suffered from nearly stagnant wages while all the gains go to the rich. That's an untenable and unsustainable situation that benefits no one but those already at the top. The Cost of Living Refund is back pay, wages that are owed to America's families. It would give everyday people more power over their lives, put more money in their pockets, and help them boost the economy for everyone.”

Tax Foundation - Robert Bellafiore

Policy Brief: “The EITC is a well-targeted anti-poverty program that counteracts instances of regressivity in the tax code. There is also strong evidence that it encourages workforce participation...One option for improving the EITC is to simplify the eligibility rules...Another option for reform is to eliminate the marriage penalty, so that marriage would not reduce the value of the credit. Ending the marriage penalty would end the EITC’s unfair disincentive to marry for low-income workers. A third option is to expand the EITC for childless workers, reducing the disparity between workers with and without children. By reducing the gap in the EITC’s value between the two groups, this reform would move the EITC closer to its goals of workforce participation and poverty reduction and would lessen any effects the EITC may have on workers’ decision to have children.”

Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center - Elaine Maag

EITC Modernization Act Press Release, 9/25/18:

“The evidence on the EITC is clear: when we provide cash to low- and middle-income families, poverty declines. But today’s EITC largely leaves many people out. Workers without custodial children have to be at least 25 to qualify, and then only qualify for a very small credit over a very small income range. [Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s EITC Modernization Act] would expand the EITC both by increasing the credit for these workers and lowering the eligibility age to 18. Low-income students would also be included in the credit, which could provide significant financial relief as they attend college. Changes such as these would make the credit more fair and lift additional people out of poverty.”

"Democrats' 2020 policy proposals almost certainly require middle-class tax hikes,", Washington Post, 3/28/19:

“You can either provide specific program benefits or take the path of providing more cash. There’s some merit to the idea of just providing cash, because people in various situations have very diverse needs. When we give people money, they can apply their knowledge of their own situations to solve their problems.”

Washington State Budget & Policy Center - Misha Werschkul

“The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a very effective federal program for reducing poverty and promoting economic security for workers in communities from Seattle to Miami. I applaud the efforts of Sen. Harris, Rep. Watson Coleman, and other national and state leaders who are working to reform the tax code to benefit working people, including expanding the EITC to caregivers and students.”

Individual Policy Experts:

Ann O’Leary - Chief of Staff to California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Wall Street Journal, Op-ed with Rep. Ro Khanna, 9/19/18:

“Our proposal—legislation one of us introduced and a policy proposal one of us helped develop with the Economic Security Project—would fix that. More Americans could keep more of what they earn for health care, education and savings.

The plan would also double the EITC for working families and expand the definition of what counts as work by including caregiving and education, to help ensure that families can take care of one another, get the skills they need, and still get ahead. It would increase the credit for childless workers almost sixfold. It would make the tax code fairer, benefiting half of American households. We also want to make sure Americans don’t have to wait for tax season to get this boost or go into debt because of predatory lenders. We believe these IRS refunds should be available monthly…

Give [middle-income people] a raise by embracing tax credits that fuel the economy and let working Americans keep more of what they earn, so they can reinvest it in their communities.”

Darrick Hamilton - Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/18:

“The federal tax code is perhaps the most powerful tool of economic policymaking. It can impose economic burden and stimulate economic power. [Sen. Harris’s LIFT Act] recognizes the increasing economic challenges faced by ordinary Americans and uses the tax code to more fairly spread our nation’s prosperity to the families that need it most. It marks a break from a tax code that spends one-third of $500+ billion dollars allocated for asset promotion through tax savings and subsidy on those earning over $1 million a year, while the bottom 60 percent of earners receive less than five percent of this allocation. And certainly a break from the Republican passed Tax Cuts and (so-called) Jobs Act, which will spend close to $2 trillion dollars over the decade largely on corporate interests based on some fickle notion that it will “trickle down” to the rest of us.”

Gene Sperling - Former Director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton & President Obama

Democracy Journal, Spring 2019:

“We should call for a Dignity Wage…This could be done through a combination of an automatically indexed $15 minimum wage, together with a major expansion of the EITC and child-care support—while ensuring some form of basic income grant, child allowance, or higher refundable tax credits for those with serious disabilities or for children living in the poorest households. This would involve filling holes in the EITC for those without dependent children, as my “EITC for All” proposal does, while raising the benefit and income levels of the EITC so it is not inadvertently phased out by a higher minimum wage and supports more families struggling in the middle class. Whatever the exact costs and details, strong proposals by Ro Khanna and Sherrod Brown, as well as Kamala Harris, all move in this direction, as do state efforts.”

New York Times, 3/12/19:

“If you are a care or domestic worker, whether you are treasured or harassed and treated with abuse can matter most deeply to your sense of economic dignity and never show up in any economic metric.”

Glenn Hubbard - Dean of Columbia Business School & former CEA Chair under President George W. Bush

CNBC, 2/20/18: (Talking about the Fair Shot policy, a precursor of the Cost-of-Living Refund, which was described in the interview as an EITC expansion to create a “guaranteed income for working people”)

“I am totally in agreement with that. I have for years argued that we need an earned income tax credit expansion, particularly for childless workers, who are getting on the ladder of work. If as a society we believe that work is important, everybody needs to be in the system, we need to help...I agree, this is first-order important.”

Indivar Dutta-Gupta - Georgetown Law School Center on Poverty and Inequality

"We don't always acknowledge it, but surely we all realize that much of the work we all depend on for our wellbeing is unpaid work--but work no less. That includes the care, provided primarily by women--especially women of color--to ensure the wellbeing of everyone from birth through old age. That includes the work of students who are working hard not just to invest in themselves, but also to build a more prosperous society for all of us. We're long overdue in recognizing this work as work that warrants public support--not just moral, but financial."

LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/18: “Instead of doubling down on lavish tax cuts for people who should be paying more--not less--in taxes, we should be advancing ideas like [Sen. Harris’s LIFT Act worker credit] to raise incomes for working people.”

Robert Reich - University of California, Berkeley & Former Secretary of Labor

Inequality Media video and Newsweek, 2/27/19:

“It’s time for a bold new idea to boost wages. Instead of helping corporations and the rich,” a Cost-of-Living Refund would “help millions of working and middle-class Americans by putting money directly in their pockets...83% of the benefits of the Trump tax cut will go to the top 1% of Americans by 2027. Expanding and modernizing the Earned Income Tax Credit can help put things back in balance.”

William “Sandy” Darity Jr. - Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy

LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/18:

“A decade later, American families have not recovered from the Great Recession and are in a state of emergency with respect to their economic health. The sharp decline in the unemployment rate masks the presence of stagnant wages and the fact that the typical middle income family cannot cover an additional $500 in expenses without taking on more debt. Senator Harris’ plan will bring much needed relief and support to the nation’s beleaguered middle income families.”

Political Leaders:

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

RISE Credit Proposal, 4/15/19:

“Families’ earnings are not keeping up with the cost of living…Creating a fairer, more just tax code begins with putting money in the pockets of Americans who are struggling to get ahead.”

Twitter, 4/15/19:

“The cost of living is high & people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. So it makes no sense that those who make the most often end up paying the least in taxes. The Rise Credit benefits more than half of all Americans, ensuring we don't leave families behind.

At Working Hero Iowa event, Iowa State Daily, 3/19/19:

“During his speech, Booker often referenced money ‘left on the table’ by families who weren’t aware of the credit and a desire to help low-income families receive their full potential credit, restore the ‘dignity of labor’ and more accurately address what poverty looks like in America.”

Twitter, 3/17/19:

“What’s one of the best ways we can lift more Americans out of poverty, whether they live in Newark or in rural Iowa? Expanding access to the earned income tax credit” (on discussion with JDScholten and Joe Sanberg at Working Iowa event)

Ames Tribune recap of  Working Hero Iowa Town Hall, 3/17/19):

“Booker, whose grandmother was born in Des Moines, said families living in or near poverty face a lack of opportunities — educationally, professionally and economically — and that expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit can help lift more Americans out of poverty. The tax credit is a refundable tax credit for low-to-moderate income working individuals and families.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Bold v. Old, 3/14/19 (18:11- 20:28):

“My definition of bold in this context is that we have to rewrite the rules in a way that we are supporting working, middle class families in America - because we’re not. The rules over a period of time have been written to the exclusion of working, middle class families. So what I am proposing is we change the tax code and specifically, that we do it in this way - that for families that are making less than $100,000 a year, they receive a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year that they can then receive up to $500 a month. And it has been described by economists as what will be one of the most significant tax cuts for middle class families in generations.

And here’s the reason that this has been the focus. In America today, almost half of American families are a $400 unexpected expense away from complete upheaval - that could be the car breaking down, that could be an unexpected medical bill...In America today, there are 12 million people a year who are going to payday lenders to borrow up to $400 a month to get through the month, and being charged interest rates that are in the hundreds, up to 300%. In America today, in 99% of the counties, if you are a minimum wage worker working full time, you cannot afford market-rate for a one bedroom apartment. These are the realities and the truths about America today, and these truths have a direct impact on middle class, working families. And so I’m proposing that we give them a lift up.

So our proposal, we actually called it the LIFT Act, would benefit 1 out of 2 American families. It would benefit 2 out of 3 American children. For African American families, 60% would be lifted out of poverty as a result of this initiative.”

(22:53 mark) “When you lift up the economic health and well-being of middle class families, everyone in the country benefits economically.”


LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/18: “Americans are working harder than ever but stagnant wages mean they can’t keep up with cost of living increases...We should put money back into the pockets of American families to address rising costs of childcare, housing, tuition, and other expenses. Our tax code should reflect our values and instead of more tax breaks for the top 1% and corporations, we should be lifting up millions of American families.”

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Cost-of-Living Refund Act Press Release, 2/19/19:

“All across the country, hard work isn’t paying off like it should. Corporate profits have soared, executive compensation has exploded, but wages are flat. Meanwhile the cost of everything from healthcare to education and housing is up...We need to put more money back in the pockets of working people and that’s what this bill does.”

Op-ed on Cost-of-Living Refund Act, 2/22/19:

“...we need to give families a Cost of Living Refund.The cost of everything from healthcare, to rent, to college tuition is up – but for most workers, wages are flat. They need more money in their pockets to keep up. That’s why I introduced legislation with Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) to double the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families, and make millions more people eligible. For the first time, students and caregivers would be able to claim the EITC, because getting an education is work, and so is taking care of a child or a parent. Our society needs to recognize that. These changes would mean anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 in the pockets of 50 million Americans.”

Cost-of-Living Refund Act Press Release, 2/13/19:

“ ‘All across the country, hard work isn’t paying off like it should. Corporate profits have soared, executive compensation has exploded, but wages are flat. Meanwhile the cost of everything from healthcare to education and housing is up,’ said Brown. ‘We need to put more money back in the pockets of working people and that’s what this bill does.’ ”

Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17)

Cost-of-Living Refund Act Press Release, 2/13/19:

“The EITC is already proven at lifting people out of poverty. By strengthening it to reach more families and individuals, it can have a lasting impact on our economy. In this modern age of automation and globalization, where work is sometimes seasonal and hours are often curtailed, this bill provides every hard-working American with a fair income for their labor.”

Wall Street Journal, Op-ed with Ann O’Leary, 9/19/18:

“Our proposal—legislation one of us introduced and a policy proposal one of us helped develop with the Economic Security Project—would fix that. More Americans could keep more of what they earn for health care, education and savings.

The plan would also double the EITC for working families and expand the definition of what counts as work by including caregiving and education, to help ensure that families can take care of one another, get the skills they need, and still get ahead. It would increase the credit for childless workers almost sixfold. It would make the tax code fairer, benefiting half of American households. We also want to make sure Americans don’t have to wait for tax season to get this boost or go into debt because of predatory lenders. We believe these IRS refunds should be available monthly…

Give [middle-income people] a raise by embracing tax credits that fuel the economy and let working Americans keep more of what they earn, so they can reinvest it in their communities.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

EITC Modernization Act of 2018 Press Release, 9/25/18:

“We know that the economy isn’t working for people, we know that wages are stagnant, and we know that it’s getting harder and harder for average families to make ends meet. We also know that the EITC works to close those gaps, so expanding eligibility to those seeking better paychecks through higher education or working the equivalent of a part-time job to care for a family member just makes sense...These folks work long hours and multiple jobs to have enough income to cover day to day expenses. If we can cut taxes for billionaires and corporations, we should be chomping at the bit to help people striving for the middle class.”

CNN op-ed with Senator Sherrod Brown and Rep. Ro Khanna, 3/14/19:

“Expanding the EITC would recognize a fact we don't acknowledge enough in this country: there are all types of work, some of which never get the recognition -- or the compensation -- they deserve. For the first time, students and caregivers would be able to claim the EITC. When a daughter takes time off from her salaried job to care for her mother with Alzheimer's, that's still work. When a new parent quits an hourly job to take care of child, that's still work. Our society -- and our tax code -- need to recognize that.”

Cost-of-Living Refund Act Press Release, 2/13/19:

“ ‘We know that the economy isn’t working for most Americans. We also know that for years, the EITC has worked to lift people out of poverty. Expanding eligibility for this credit to those seeking better lives through higher education or working the equivalent of a full-time job to care for a family member just makes sense,’ said Watson Coleman. ‘If we can cut taxes for billionaires and corporations, we should be chomping at the bit to help people striving for the middle class.’ ”

Senator Sherrod Brown, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

CNN op-ed, 3/14/19:

“We've seen a lot of ideas floated to make our economy fairer and fight income inequality. Expanding the EITC, which gives a percentage of their earnings back to millions of low- and moderate-income working Americans, needs to be at the center of those conversations.

It's the most effective tool we have to put more money in the pockets of ordinary Americans. It's simple to administer, it's repeatedly demonstrated its success, and it gives families what they need most -- extra dollars...Think of it as a cost-of-living refund. The plan would raise the maximum credit for all earners and raise the income threshold to acknowledge the fact that a dollar doesn't stretch as far as it once did. These changes would mean anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 in the pockets of nearly 50 million Americans, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13)

Twitter, 9/13/17:

“Proud to stand w/ @RepRoKhanna to introduce the GAIN Act. Expanding #EITC will put money in the pockets of hard working American families. Under the #GAINAct a family who makes up to $75K a year and has 3 or more kids could receive a $12,000 tax credit.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom (California)

State of the state address, 2/12/19:

“We will provide a Cost-of-Living Refund by expanding the earned income tax credit to a million more Californians who need it the most.”

Pod Save America, 8/28/19 (just after 1:00):

“If we don’t address the issue of wealth disparity, not just income inequality, the issues of social mobility, this whole experiment collapses. I don’t think there’s a bigger issue in our country...

“I’m intrigued by [the idea of a universal basic income], and I just had the privilege of spending some time with Chris Hughes and others that have done a lot of thinking on this-- someone who’s been on your show and is a rock star and one of my favorite politicians in this country, not just the state, Mayor Michael Tubbs from Stockton, who’s experimenting in California on the local level. It’s intriguing to me.

That said, I’m more interested in enhancing the Earned Income Tax Credit, extending it into the middle class, extending it to caregivers, doing more in that space. Child tax credits I think can more substantively in the short term address the issue of deep child poverty. I think the issue of child poverty is the issue we’ve got to tackle first.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, Indiana)

Pod Save America, 3/1/19, at (48:21):

The income problem won’t go away and so we’ve got to look at that. I think [guaranteed income] is worth taking seriously. There’s an experiment now underway in Stockton to see what it does. There are many times we’ve been sitting around the table working on some elaborate policy contraption to boost third grade reading levels, when a lot of evidence would suggest that by far the simplest and most effective and cost-efficient way to do it is just to give the family a little more cash. It turns out that not being poor is one of the best things that can help you make it to a third grade reading level, because of nutrition or stability.

I’m attracted to structures that connect it to work, but also have an expansive version of what work is...Let’s give a little more regard to things like caregiving and raising children that are absolutely work, they’re just not in the formal economy in the way that they’re traditionally being compensated. I think with a richer and thicker understanding of what work is, some kind of relationship between a guaranteed income or work. And some kind of structure that makes it equitable, which might be along the lines of an expanded tax credit, or even the negative income tax that first got floated in the seventies.

I don’t know that anybody can say now that they have a fully informed, considered opinion on this, but I think it’s the right moment to have this conversation, because it is something that’s responsive partly to this issue of automation, which is only going to accelerate….We haven’t all been made better off...we were promised that the rising tide would rise, and it did, and we were promised that it would lift all boats, and it didn’t, especially where we live.

Other Organizations:

CA NAACP - Alice Huffman

LIFT Act Press Release, 10/18/18:

“[Senator Harris’s LIFT Act] is a brilliant approach as we know that all essentials for living a standard quality of life are increasing while salaries are stagnated. Most middle-class families cannot afford to live where they work or the rising cost of education for their children so this welcome relief will help to ensure they can have a shot at realizing the American dream.”

Caring Across Generations - Sarita Gupta

"The Cost-of-Living Refund makes significant progress in compensating for the valuable work of taking care of family members. In our country, over 40 million family caregivers provide uncompensated care valued at over $470 billion annually. Family caregivers, just like me, spend close to $7,000, on average, in out-of-pocket expenses a year. The financial and time burden of caregiving especially hits Black, white and Latina women who provide care to their loved ones hard. The Cost-of-Living Refund would help provide a measure of relief to working people, instead of just the wealthiest and most well-connected."

Community Change - Dorian Warren

“The racial wealth inequities that we see now are products of a long history of intentional policy decisions made to exclude workers and communities of color from thriving economically. The time is long overdue for policies rooted in an understanding of how income disparities by race have an intergenerational impact that make economic security elusive for many black and brown people today. Expanding the EITC through a Cost-of-Living Refund makes progress towards closing racial income and wealth gaps by increasing incomes and wealth-building power for people of color.”

Diverse Elders Coalition

“As our nation grows older, greater numbers of spouses, family members, and friends are being asked to provide physical, emotional, and financial care for their aging loved ones. This often means time away from work and out-of-pocket expenses; for caregivers in communities of color, American Indian/Alaska Native communities, and LGBT communities, where rates of poverty and unemployment may be higher, the toll of caregiving on our economic security is more profoundly felt. Changing the definition of ‘work,’ as noted in the Cost-of-Living Refund, to include the myriad tasks that friends and family members are providing for their aging loved ones – and providing the requisite financial support that comes with work – would be a boon to our communities and the care that we provide.”

MomsRising

Twitter, 2/26/19:

“We agree with @RBReich that making improvements to the #EITC is the exact type of tax policies our families need. SIGN our letter to Congress telling them to boost our families by improving the EITC!”

MoveOn

Twitter, 9/13/17:

“Working families’ wages stayed the same for 40yrs. TY @RepRoKhanna for introducing #GAINAct to strengthen the EITC to fix this problem.”

National Women’s Law Center - Melissa Boteach

“Wages are flat, the cost of living is going up, and women and families are juggling increased caregiving demands with unforgiving work schedules and income constraints. The Cost-of-Living Refund reflects two important policy priorities: we need better policies to help families close the gap between stagnant wages and rising costs, and we need to recognize the crucial work of unpaid caregiving as foundational for our economy. It’s time to enact a tax code that works for everyday families, not the rich and big corporations.”

Progressive Change Campaign Committee - Stephanie Taylor

“The cost of living and housing is climbing steadily, but the system is rigged so wages aren’t keeping up. That not only hurts people who are struggling in poverty, but also squeezes millions of middle-class families—people who live paycheck to paycheck and are one unexpected medical bill away from financial disaster. We need an economy that works for everyone: It’s time the wealthy and big corporations pay their share of taxes. We can and should put more money back in working and middle class people's pockets through a Cost-of-Living Refund.”

United Way of Ulster County - Stacey Rein

Video, 3/20/19:

"A simple tire, a flat tire, can result in somebody becoming homeless...Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, guaranteed income, the monthly payments for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or the Working Families Credit - I think those are all really tremendously viable policies, and they're simple."

U.S. PIRG

Press Release, 2/13/19:

“Expanding the EITC to include unpaid caregivers acknowledges the new challenges and opportunities we face as the nature of work changes. More people should thrive as improved technology brings greater prosperity. Redefining caregiving as work brings us closer to an economy that prioritizes improving well-being, so that more people can live the American Dream.”

Other Individuals:

Aisha Nyandoro - Springboard To Opportunities

“Reimagining the EITC: Creating Economic Security for All”, 9/5/17:

“There are several policy steps that can be taken to reform the EITC so that the tool works for vulnerable families within our society, particularly families that fall within the extremely low-income range...Providing families with an opportunity to elect to receive their EITC refund as monthly payments throughout the year would yield additional monthly income. For families where each month is spent just scraping by, supplemental monthly resources could be life changing and prevent them from falling victim to predatory leaders...Many low-and extremely low-income families do not use reputable tax preparers-opting to use payday lenders and other questionable preparers because refunds are processed on site. As a result, those who would benefit most are largely unaware that the economic tool of the EITC exists. Should filers be required to opt-out of EITC, persons that qualify would automatically be enrolled to receive the benefit. Finally, the current iteration of EITC is available only to workers over the age of 25. This policy does not align to the economic reality of many extremely low-income families which have young adult children (over the age of 18) living at home and working to help support the family...In short, slight policy shifts in the eligibility and implementation of EITC can create long-term impact and is a step toward ending generational poverty.”

Annie Lowrey - The Atlantic

“Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan,” The Atlantic, 10/18/19:

"Boosting the fortunes of the middle class and ending poverty are achievable policy goals, not moonshot ideas or flights of fancy. And Democrats want to achieve them by giving people cash."

Bill Gates

Interview with NYT’s Rebecca Blumenstein at Davos, 1/22/19 (at 15:26):

"To me, the system could constantly be tuned, and I'm a believer in an estate tax, I'm a believer in more progressive taxation. I think we have a system that works, but we can tune it to achieve more equality - things like the Earned Income Tax Credit should be made substantially more generous.”

Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider - internal medicine physician

“As a physician focused on palliative care advocacy, I work with families who drop everything to care for their ailing loved ones. At what is often the most difficult point in their lives, patients and their families do not need the added burden of financial anxiety compounding their stress. A Cost-of-Living Refund would support people who are doing the tremendously important work of caring for a family member. The timing is urgent for this policy, given the caregiving crisis our country currently faces with a rapidly aging population.”

Ezra Klein - Vox

Twitter, 10/16/18:

“What you're seeing in this Kamala Harris proposal is Democrats moving from their core tax idea being "raise taxes on the rich" to their core tax idea being "use the tax code to redistribute to the poor and working class"

Warren Buffett

Yahoo Finance, 4/22/19:

"I think the Earned Income Tax Credit is the best way to put money in the pockets of people...The government, at a relatively low cost, can provide a decent living for anybody that's working 40 hours a week and has a couple of children, and we've gone in that direction. And It's sort of bipartisan, I find both Republicans and Democrats for it. I think it would be better not to have one annual payment, that they get it monthly. I think there are various things you could do, but you want them to feel part of the system...You want them to get a little more of their share."

Community Members:

Voter (Arizona)

“I’m doing ok today, but I’m one emergency away from financial ruin.”

Voter (Ohio)

“Anyone asking whether a $100 a month credit is enough to matter has never had to choose between groceries and rent.”

Dalila (Colorado)

“As someone who doesn't currently qualify for the EITC, this tax credit would be really helpful. Personally, I would use the extra $1,000 a year to start an emergency fund, and to help my kids pay for college. Approving this means many families will be able to access a better life, and invest in their businesses and their family.”

Robert (Colorado)

"I am proud to be a student and first-generation child of a Guatemalan refugee. My educational aspirations serve as a lifeline for my family and will play an essential role in bringing them out of poverty. With this proposal, I can expect a tax credit that I'll put toward important graduate school costs that will not fall on my family, as I don’t want to be a burden on them – but rather a source of support – in difficult economic times."

Abegale (Ulster County, New York) - Video, 3/20/19

“My [working] hours could be 45-50 hours, it all depends on the week. It’s very stressful, you know, having three children, and having to work all these extra hours. But if I stay home, I’ll lose my apartment, I can’t put food on the table, so I just have to keep it going…[A Cost-of-Living Refund] would be wonderful. Because every extra dollar counts.”

Claudia (Washington) - The Columbian, 3/13/19

“An extra $200 or $300 would go a long way in Claudia Ruth Franson’s household. Since her husband tore a tendon last year, he’s been placed on light duty at his warehouse job while they continue to fight with their insurance company over paying for surgery...She said she’ll soon start a job as a teacher’s assistant, but in the meantime her Ford Excursion needs repairs and they’re behind on bills and rent at their house in Hazel Dell. Meanwhile, their nine kids (ranging in ages from 11 months to 15) still need clothes and lots of groceries. ‘To us, it’s a big deal,’ said Franson. She added that any extra money she gets would just go back into the community. ‘Right now, I have to go shopping.’ ”

Brad (Maine) - Maine Beacon, 5/2/19

“The margins for low-income working people’s budgets are so slim. One mishap can really throw a family like mine into crisis. [The Maine Work Credit bill] would give many families the ability to pay for the basics without going into deeper debt or having the rug pulled out from under them.”

Susan (Maine) - Maine Beacon, 5/2/19

“I’m a full-time student. I’m a single mother of two. Going to school full-time and being a mother does not mean I can work a traditional job. It’s important for me and my kids to be independent. A little extra income would go a long way for me and my kids...I think about how scary it is, if [there’s] an emergency.”

Marlene (California) - CALmatters, 4/7/19

“For my boys, an extra $500 will mean their shoes will fit....Every little bit helps. These babies are growing so fast that it is hard to keep up with the clothes they need, especially their shoes. One day not long ago, we bought four pairs of shoes. They cost $200. More money for these boys would mean I could more easily pay for all the things they need.”

Maks (Illinois) - Video, 02/2019

“[With a little extra cash each month], the first thing I’d do is get myself checked up properly, go to a proper check up at a hospital, maybe even go to the dentist for the first time in 10 years.”