A Simpler And More Generous Tax Credit For Low-Income Workers And Caregivers

Expanding the earned income tax credit (EITC) has support from a wide range of policy experts. Yet the expansion ideas come in many different forms. One of the most recent is the Cost-of-Living Refund (CLR) that has been proposed by the Economic Security Project (ESP – an advocacy organization focused on improving economic security for low- and middle-income people). Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker (D-NJ) has based his proposed expansion of the EITC on the CLR.

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Fast Company: Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes has a $2.5 trillion plan to lift up the working class

“While the EITC has been increased in the past—generally with bipartisan backing—this plan is far more ambitious than anything contemplated before…Politicians seem to be getting the message. Among those who have put forward massive EITC expansions are two presidential hopefuls: Sen. Cory Booker with the Rise Credit and Sen. Kamala Harris with the LIFT the Middle Class Act. In addition, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Ro Khanna and Bonnie Watson Coleman have introduced bills that would double the size of the EITC for working families and multiply it sixfold for childless workers. Meanwhile, a more modest measure from Senate Democrats would still enlarge the EITC by about 25%.

The Economic Security Project has put its imprint on most of this legislation. ‘The American bargain—that if you work hard, you can get ahead—is in peril,’ Booker says. ‘It’s time to be thinking boldly about what is truly needed to restore the bargain and create real opportunity for working people, and the Economic Security Project is doing just that.’ “

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Maine Beacon: New tax credit bill could help Maine workers stay ‘above water’

“Every year, thousands of Mainers struggle to make ends meet, heat their homes and support their families. A bill introduced by Rep. Maureen “Mo” Terry (D-Gorham) to create a new state version of the federal earned income tax credit (EITC), called the Maine Work Credit, could help.

Under Terry’s bill, about $91 million in refundable tax breaks would go to 177,000 households across the state. In addition to those working paid jobs, more than 14,000 unpaid family care givers and almost 2,000 low-income students would also be included.”

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The Atlantic: Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan

“Harris is offering a kind of fun-house-mirror inversion of the sweeping Republican tax initiative, one that would, instead of slashing rates on high-income households and corporations, push huge credits out to middle-income and poor families. The lift the Middle Class Act would provide monthly cash payments of up to $500 to lower-income families, on top of the tax credits and public benefits they already receive. ‘Last year, Congress gave a trillion dollars in tax breaks to corporations,’ Harris told me. ‘That money should have gone to American taxpayers who need it instead of handing it over to corporations and the top 1 percent’…

…Harris is offering as much as $3,000 a year for a single person or $6,000 a year for a married couple, on top of existing tax and transfer programs, disbursed either as a lump-sum tax refund or as a monthly payment. Working families making less than $100,000 a year would qualify, including those making close to nothing. As many as 80 million Americans would benefit, Harris’s office has estimated, with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculating that the proposal would lift 9 million people out of poverty, including nearly 3 million kids.”

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CityLab: The Progressives Making the Case for Monthly Tax Refunds

Economic Security Project Action “aims to modernize and reframe the EITC as a Cost-of-Living Refund. This means increasing the number of people who are eligible for this credit, expanding the definition of work that qualifies people for the credit, and perhaps most importantly, making it pay out monthly instead of annually. This proposal would make almost half of Americans eligible for the credit…The Cost-of-Living Refund proposal would cut poverty by nearly a third, doubling the reach of the current credit”

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CNN Op-Ed: This tax policy change could transform American lives

“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. We worked to expand the credit and make it permanent in 2015, and the following year, it lifted nearly 6 million Americans out of poverty. For those currently eligible, this credit gives families more economic security and a bridge to the middle class. But it leaves behind many others who would benefit from the stability it provides…Our plan would fix that, and dramatically expand the EITC. Think of it as a cost-of-living refund.”

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The Columbian: Bill may pave way to help with rising cost of living

“The legislation being considered by Washington lawmakers is different than other programs. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit only applies to working parents. The Washington Working Families Tax Credit would have broader eligibility and would include individuals with no children, caregivers of relatives, immigrant workers and low-income college students.

According to research from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, a research and advocacy organization, the Washington Working Families Tax Credit would reach about 30 percent of the state’s population, providing on average $350 for those who qualify and a maximum of $970. More than 28,250 households in Clark County receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and even more would qualify for the state tax credit, according to the Budget and Policy Center.”

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Newsweek: A Simple, Bold Solution to Boost the Wages of Millions of Americans

“It’s time for a bold new idea to boost wages…Now, there’s a simple and bold solution that would cost about as much as the Trump tax cut. But instead of helping corporations and the rich, it would help millions of working and middle-class Americans by putting money directly in their pockets.

I’m talking about expanding something called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. And although it’s been around for decades, it can be the basis of a revolutionary change in the lives of millions of people.”

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SF Chronicle Op-Ed: Newsom’s bold proposal — a cost-of-living refund to make California affordable

“The governor’s budget proposal more than doubles funding for CalEITC to $1 billion, expanding the reach of the credit to those earning up to $15 an hour and including an extra $500 for families with young children. The proposal addresses affordability head-on by closing the gap for those who earn “too much” to qualify for other assistance but not enough to make ends meet. And the extra credit for families with young children helps during the critical early childhood years, when the affordability crisis hits many families hardest.

The proposal aims to include an option for the credit to be distributed monthly rather than as an annual lump sum, becoming the first state to offer a monthly option for the earned income tax credit.”

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Fast Company: California has a new plan to give a monthly check to low-income residents

“California, one of the most unaffordable states to live in in the country, is taking a fairly significant step to make itself more livable for working people. The newly sworn-in Governor Gavin Newsom, in his proposal for the state budget, intends to more than double the California Earned Income Tax Credit, which returns up to $2,879 to families and individuals working at or below the full-time minimum wage threshold…

…Newsom’s proposal has largely been met with support as it prepares to move to the state legislature for approval. But an aspect that’s very exciting to Adam Ruben, campaigns director for the Economic Security Project (ESP)–a nonprofit focused on creating equity through cash-assistance and basic income programs–is how the tax credit will be delivered. Instead of the money reaching families as a lump sum once a year as part of their tax refund, Newsom’s budget calls for the payments to be delivered in smaller chunks monthly.”

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Washington Post: Sherrod Brown as Trump-slayer? Here’s his big idea.

“At the core of Brown’s message is a simple idea: The way to confer dignity on work is to ensure that it pays well. Due to structural economic factors beyond ordinary Americans’ control, wages have stagnated for millions, with many trapped in the ranks of the working poor; but government can remedy this through the tax code by sending struggling Americans money…

…Brown’s version includes one proposal to expand the EITC, a federal tax credit for poor and working Americans that is pegged to income, to the point where it would confer more than $6,500 on families with household incomes from around $10,000 to $25,000 per year, with the amount then declining as the proposal reaches deeper into the middle class before phasing out on higher incomes. That would roughly double the number of families benefiting to 47 million, boosting their incomes by $2,800 on average.”

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NBC News: Democrats eyeing 2020 presidential bids test simple pitch: Have some money.

“As Democrats gear up to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, several possible contenders are testing out a simple pitch: Would you like some more money?

A suite of big ticket bills by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., would directly transfer upward of trillions of dollars in cash directly to Americans. While low-income workers would be the biggest beneficiaries, the proposals would apply to large chunks of the middle class as well.”

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Politico: Who’s Winning the Democrats’ Wonk Primary?

“Harris’ [LIFT Act] would provide even more direct cash assistance, providing families with up to $500 per month and individuals with up to $250 per month through a tax program that would essentially invert the unpopular Trump tax cuts…The Atlantic reported the calculation of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that it would lift 9 million Americans out of poverty, making it an undeniably powerful tool were it to be enacted.

The LIFT Act resembles in many ways with its overall effect the Earned Income Tax Credit, the benefit to working taxpayers that enjoys bipartisan popularity and which Democrats see as ripe for expansion, including Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Congressman Ro Khanna of California, who introduced legislation last year that would do so.”

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Sac Bee Op-Ed: California can lead on economic security for working families

“Americans are feeling financial strain from the rising cost of living and stagnant wages. Even with strong job growth and the lowest unemployment rate in almost a half-century, nearly 40 percent of adults say they had trouble meeting basic needs last year.

This financial pressure cooker is even more heated in California, where the costs of housing, food, child care and transportation almost always outpace the national average. In fact, more than half of Californians are worried that they or a family member will be unable to find affordable housing. It’s no wonder so many Californians say the rising cost of living is the most important issue facing the state.”

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CNBC: Kamala Harris and other prominent Democrats want to repeal Trump's tax cuts and replace them with cash payouts for the poor and working class

“With midterm elections 2½ weeks away and the 2020 presidential race around the corner, prominent Democrats are embracing an ambitious idea: Repeal and replace the $1.5 trillion Republican tax plan. The proposals would get rid of the tax cuts and, in turn, funnel that money into government-guaranteed cash for low- and middle-income households…’There’s all kind of evidence that voters are not looking for incremental solutions,” said Adam Ruben, campaigns director at the Economic Security Project, a liberal think tank that has pushed the idea. “They’re looking for a big vision of how to pick up all the people who have been left behind in this economy.’ “

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