Many in Washington, D.C. have their eyes glued to the election coverage, counting delegates and planning for November. But while pundits and candidates focus on elections, working Americans are left struggling to make ends meet.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit for low- and modest income working people that encourages and rewards work, offsetting federal payroll and income taxes. The EITC is broadly considered our nation’s most effective pro-work, anti-poverty tool; as only those who work are eligible. Last year in Cameron County, United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance project brought $4,300,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits into the pockets of working people, helping them pay off bills and provide essentials for their families while giving our local economy a big boost.
Currently, lower-income working Americans who cannot claim children on their taxes access little to no EITC. Also, young people age 21-24 are ineligible. So while the EITC is one of the most effective tools we have to help working families keep their heads above water, it excludes millions of workers.
Workers like the 716,000 veterans or military service members who don’t have children. Parents who don’t live with their children, but want to contribute to their upbringing. Or younger people just starting out, who want to pay for an education.
Congress can expand this common sense policy for workers who cannot claim children on their taxes by increasing the size of the EITC for this group and lowering the age of eligibility to 21. Please, call on our lawmakers to focus on what matters most – how they can make sure millions of hardworking Americans have a shot at a better life.