Hike in state’s EITC would lift countless families out of poverty
Jun 5, 2019
Folk wisdom tells us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but we often forget this adage when addressing systemic challenges. We pour billions of dollars into the development of new miracle drugs and medical procedures, but spend comparatively little on preventative medicine or addressing social issues that contribute to chronic disease. Maybe it’s human nature, but we seem to be better at reacting to crises than proactively working to prevent them.
By Roy Lincoln Karp Posted June 5, 2019
One notable exception is the Earned Income Tax Credit, long considered one of the nation’s most effective public policies for addressing poverty. First signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1975, the federal EITC is a refundable tax credit for low- and moderate-income working people. Since then, it has been sustained and increased with bipartisan support. Liberals like it because it’s a progressive tax policy in an otherwise regressive system; conservatives support it because it rewards those in the workforce.
EITC has helped lift millions of working Americans and their children out of poverty. Because of its proven track record, 29 states have also enacted their own state EITCs to supplement the federal credit. Massachusetts created an EITC in 1997 and in 2017 it was increased to 30 percent of the federal credit with support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Governor Charlie Baker.