July 2010 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Urge Members of Congress to Talk to Tax Committee Leaders about the EITC and CTC

Introduction: My name is Harry Truman and I am a RESULTS volunteer from Independence, Missouri. I was wondering if you have a few minutes to talk about working families and the tax code.

Engage: As you well know, taxes are going to be a big issue over the next few months as the 2001 middle class cuts are to expire.

Problem: But you might not know that low-income families are also facing some dire tax changes at the end of this year. If Congress does not act, millions of low-income workers and the families will face financial hardship and a greater risk of poverty next year.

Inform: In 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) were both expanded for low-income workers and their families. These changes have helped 7 million low-income children and adults. Unfortunately, these improvements will expire at the end of 2010. As a result, working families making more than $10,000 per year will get hit the hardest. For example, a single mom with two children working full–time at the minimum wage currently receives a $1,725 Child Tax Credit. Next year, her CTC drops to $248, almost $1,500 less. That’s nearly ten percent of her annual income. These families should not be punished for simply working hard and playing by the rules.

Call to Action (for House): Will you urge Rep. ____________ to speak directly with House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin/Ranking Member Dave Camp, voicing support for a permanent extension of the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements in the middle class tax bill? How can I follow up with you to make sure the representative has spoken to the key people? Thank you for your time.

Call to Action (for Senate): Will you urge Sen. ____________ to speak directly with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus/Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, voicing support for a permanent extension of the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements in the middle class tax bill? How can I follow up with you to make sure the senator has spoken to the key people? Thank you for your time.

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk and our Economic Opportunity campaign page.