Today, the Community Service Society joined with Senator Charles Schumer, New York State Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, the Fiscal Policy Institute, and other leading anti-poverty advocates to call on Congress to make permanent the improvements to the EITC and the Child Tax Credit which were enacted as part of the economic stimulus legislation (ARRA) in 2009 -- policies which together help nearly 1.5 million New York Children in 755,000 households.
The EITC and Child Tax Credit are two of our most effective federal tools for lifting working families out of poverty.
These tax credits reward work, help low-wage workers pay for necessities for themselves and for their children, and that money is spent in low-income neighborhoods, strengthening local businesses and communities.
The changes mitigating the marriage penalty, providing more help to larger families and allowing families with lower earnings to claim the child tax credit should be made permanent.
At CSS we do an annual survey, The Unheard Third, that tracks the hardships and views of low-income New Yorkers. In 2015 we found that among low-income working families:
• More than a third (36 percent) fell behind in their rent in the past year, a precursor to homelessness
• Four out of Ten had trouble buying clothes and school supplies for their kids
• One in Five could not afford subway and bus fares
• And nearly half (48 percent) had less than $500 in savings to fall back on in an emergency
The income these tax credits provide is crucial to working families like these.
They keep people in their homes, pay for backpacks and books, enable workers to commute to their jobs, and to survive a sudden medical bill or emergency.
Congress should act to make the changes permanent and to further expand the EITC to provide greater benefits to younger workers and tax filers without children as well.