Childless and Young Adults Would Benefit from Expanded Anti-Poverty Program
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a critical tool that helps lift low-income workers out of poverty. Many New Jersey workers face economic hardship and are unable to make basic ends meet without turning to increasingly strained private charities.
The EITC has been one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in our country’s history, but more needs to be done to make sure people who need it most can benefit from the tax credit.
The Anti-Poverty Network, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ Citizen Action, Monarch Housing and faith leaders are urging New Jersey’s Senators Menendez and Booker to make expansion of the EITC a top priority for working adults without children.
Senator Booker has supported this expansion through the introduction of his own legislative plan.
Your organization can sign on to the letter by Wednesday, November 16, 2016
New Jersey Policy Perspective released a report, “EITC Expansion Would Provide a Crucial Boost to Hundreds of Thousands of New Jerseyans,” in October 2016.
Currently, low-income workers between the ages of 21-24 are not eligible to take the EITC. New Jersey has the highest number of young adults living at home with parents, because they cannot afford to move out on their own. Lowering the eligibility age to 21 would enable more young people to enter the workforce and to more fully participate in our state’s economy.
The report estimates that the proposed expansion of the EITC through the almost identical plans of House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Obama would assist almost 343,000 New Jersey workers, including 101,000 workers between the ages of 21 and 24 who would be eligible for the credit for the first time. A different Congressional proposal would assist 425,000 New Jersey workers.
Senators Cory Booker and Tammy Baldwin have introduced the most ambitious of proposed plans that would assist 504,000 New Jersey workers would be helped, including at least 122,000 workers between the ages of 21 and 24 who would be eligible for the credit for the first time.
Childless individuals or married couples are too frequently excluded from the tax credit by age or the low income threshold and struggle to make ends meet in our high cost state.
The low-income limits combined with the low amount of the tax credit does not lift these adults out of poverty at the same rates as adults with children. Raising the income limits for single and married childless adults and increasing the maximum tax credit benefit is very necessary.
New Jersey Policy Perspective concludes:
“While the cleanest path forward to expand the EITC to these workers without children is at the federal level, if Congress fails to act, New Jersey should follow the lead of other states and consider implementing the EITC expansion at the state level … Whether it occurs at the federal or state level, expanding the EITC for younger workers without children would be a significant boost for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans, and the benefits would be felt for years to come.”