CHN: Advocates Call on Senators to Improve Low-Income Tax Credits in Final Spending Package

Advocates took to the phones on Nov. 6 as part of a national call-in day to tell their senators that any tax package that moves through Congress must include provisions to help low-income families. As reported in the October 29 Human Needs Report, members of Congress are expected to try to add a package of tax cut provisions onto end-of-year spending legislation. Congress routinely passes legislation to continue expired or soon-to-expire tax provisions (largely benefiting businesses, and known as “tax extenders”), often attached to must-pass spending legislation.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) overwhelmingly benefited corporations and wealthy individuals. It largely left out, however, improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC), but mostly for the benefit of families with higher incomes. Despite bipartisan support for improving these effective tax credits for low-income working families, the TCJA failed to target assistance to those with the lowest incomes.

Since the enactment of the TCJA, several industries have been urging Congress to pass “technical corrections” for some of the business provisions in the TCJA. These “corrections” will add more tax breaks, worth billions, for certain businesses. Advocates reached out to members of Congress on Nov. 6 via the national call-in day and social media to ensure that any tax package that passes this year include improvements to the EITC and CTC as well. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the EITC and CTC lifted 10.6 million people out of poverty in 2018 and made 17.5 million others less poor, taking into account both federal and state versions of the credits. This includes 11.9 million children, 5.5 million of whom were lifted out of poverty and another 6.4 million of whom were made less poor.

Several bills to expand the EITC and CTC have been introduced in Congress this year, including the Economic Mobility Act of 2019 (H.R. 3300), the American Family Act (H.R. 1560/S. 690), and the Working Families Tax Relief Act (H.R. 3157/S. 1138). CBPP recently released a collection of fact sheets for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the impact of the Working Families Tax Relief Act. The fact sheets have details of the number of people who would benefit broken down by race, occupation, and congressional district. The National Women’s Law Center also produced a fact sheet on how the Working Families Tax Relief Act would help women and families.

For more information, see the October 29 Human Needs Report.

Child Tax Credit
Earned Income Tax Credit