About the Cost-of-Living Refund


A Cost-of-Living Refund is grounded in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call late in his life, "The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income." By modernizing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), we can create a guaranteed income for working Americans as a powerful and practical plan to help low-income and middle-class people.

There is no better policy to provide economic stability to working people. The EITC lifts more families out of poverty than food stamps, housing subsidies, and unemployment insurance combined. Cash gives people the tools to solve their own problems. Today, 57% of Americans can't afford a $500 emergency, with worse rates among people of color. A voter in an Arizona focus group said, “I’m one emergency away from financial ruin.” A woman in Ohio added that anyone asking whether $100 a month is enough to matter “has never had to choose between groceries and rent.”

Yet, in its current form, the EITC cannot fully address the needs of hard-working families in an economy shaped by low-wage work and high concentrations of wealth.

 
 
Community members at a rally for a Working Families Tax Credit (or Cost-of-Living Refund) in Washington State. (3/21/19)

Community members at a rally for a Working Families Tax Credit (or Cost-of-Living Refund) in Washington State. (3/21/19)

 

Policy background about the Cost-of-Living Refund (also called a Working Families Tax Credit) and how to talk about it:

How it works in a state 

How it works at the federal level 

Messaging Resources and Polling

Policy Backgrounders

Expanding work

Paying the credit monthly

Simplifying the credit to improve access

ComplementING the minimum wage

Social Media Materials