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November 2012 U.S. Poverty Action

Tax Credits Are Vital to Low-Income Working Families

This month, we will be working to generate a lot of calls and e-mails to Congressional offices to protect tax credits for low-income working families. While we will urge everyone in our action network and those on our November 10 conference call to e-mail and call the receptionists in their Senate and House offices (see the Tax Credit Action Flyer to give out at meetings, or tailor the Word version to urge others to directly call your policymakers), we urge your RESULTS group to coordinate so that one member uses these talking points to talk directly to the tax aide in each office using the talking points below. Have limited capacity? Focus on your senators and those in the Senate/House leadership. 

Call Tax Aides about Protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit

  1. Call your House and both Senate offices and ask to speak to the aide who handles tax issues. You can find contact information and staff names on out Elected Officials page at: http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/.
  2. When connected, tell the aide that you would like to talk about tax credits for working families, specifically the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Tell him/her that you are very concerned that Congress is ignoring the impact these credits have on low-income children and their working parents.
  3. Ask them if they realize that people like firefighters, police officers and sheriffs, nurses, child care workers, and military personnel benefit from these credits — people who are working hard to support their families in tough economic times.
  4. Tell them that parents who work full-time should be able to support their families and stay out of poverty. In 2010, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.2 million people out of poverty, more than half of them children.
  5. Remind them that that recent improvements to the EITC and CTC will expire at the end of this year. If Congress does not extend these improvements, millions of children and families will be put at risk of into poverty (see reverse side for the number of impacted families and children in your state).
  6. In addition, tell the aide you are very concerned that Congress will look to cut in the EITC and CTC as part of deficit reduction in 2013. Congress should not be trying to balance the budget on the backs of working families
  7. Urge the aide to ask his/her boss to speak to Senate (Senators Reid/McConnell) or House (Representatives Boehner/Pelosi) and urge them to:
  • Make the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent
    • Support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework

    The Fate of the EITC and CTC Hangs in the Balance

    After the November 6 election, Congress will start making decisions on policies that impact millions of low-income, working families. Front and center is the fate of recent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). In recent years, long-overdue improvements to the EITC and CTC were enacted, so as to help more low-income families. These changes alone lifted 1.6 million people out of poverty in 2010 (out of 9.2 million total lifted out of poverty by the EITC and CTC in 2010). However, if Congress does not act, these improvements will expire at the end of 2012, putting millions of Americans at risk of falling deeper into poverty.

    In addition, some members of Congress have proposed cutting back or even eliminating the EITC and CTC to help reduce the deficit while at the same time proposing new tax cuts for the wealthy. All major deficit reduction efforts in the past included specific protections for anti-poverty programs. Congress must continue this tradition by including a principle specifically protecting the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction/tax reform framework.

    When members of Congress returns to Washington on November 13, they will likely start working on a plan to resolve these issues. At this point, we expect Congress will attempt to temporarily extend all or some of the Bush tax cuts during the Lame Duck session (or let them expire and reinstate them in early January). We do not know if the EITC and CTC improvements will be included in this extension. The extension will likely include a framework with instructions to key committees to begin working on broader deficit reduction/tax reform legislation in 2013. Therefore, not only must we ensure that the improvements are extended; we must also make sure any tax reform framework includes specific language protecting the EITC and CTC during deficit reduction negotiations. Otherwise, we could win the battle but lose the war, i.e. get a temporary extension of the improvements only to see the EITC and CTC drastically cut in deficit reduction.

    Over the summer, many RESULTS volunteers met with tax aides in Washington, DC during the RESULTS International Conference. It is time to reconnect with those aides and reiterate the message we’ve been pushing all year—protect working families by protecting the EITC and CTC. Talking to key aides will bring these issues to the fore with your members of Congress and could make the difference in what happens to the EITC and CTC over the next year and beyond.

    Use New Data to Show the Number of Families Impacted in Your State

    When talking to the tax aides for your representative and both senators, use the information below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) to demonstrate how many families and children in your state would be impacted (by losing all or part of their EITC or CTC) if the recent EITC and CTC improvements expire on December 31.

     

    Families adversely affected by not extending EITC and CTC improvements in 2013

     

    Families adversely affected by not extending EITC and CTC improvements in 2013

     State

    Number of families

    Number of children in these families

    State

    Number of families

    Number of children in these families

    Total

    13,115,145

    25,715,649

    Missouri

    256,829

    480,545

    Alabama

    287,044

    512,996

    Montana

    39,239

    68,801

    Alaska

    20,710

    42,274

    Nebraska

    62,532

    119,840

    Arizona

    305,417

    709,091

    Nevada

    113,535

    246,673

    Arkansas

    156,164

    297,695

    New Hampshire

    22,301

    36,092

    California

    1,524,618

    3,165,250

    New Jersey

    218,863

    442,175

    Colorado

    190,845

    344,865

    New Mexico

    115,222

    214,788

    Connecticut

    75,033

    147,285

    New York

    724,949

    1,414,333

    Delaware

    31,954

    52,384

    North Carolina

    522,645

    1,114,261

    DC

    17,035

    37,907

    North Dakota

    19,809

    35,579

    Florida

    977,480

    1,718,069

    Ohio

    498,603

    997,137

    Georgia

    587,100

    1,139,543

    Oklahoma

    207,145

    383,857

    Hawaii

    52,371

    102,592

    Oregon

    133,792

    258,389

    Idaho

    73,774

    150,347

    Pennsylvania

    387,740

    773,274

    Illinois

    467,109

    992,167

    Rhode Island

    30,284

    58,252

    Indiana

    268,296

    525,069

    South Carolina

    262,996

    501,775

    Iowa

    86,321

    190,553

    South Dakota

    29,034

    60,425

    Kansas

    98,227

    201,089

    Tennessee

    330,797

    594,954

    Kentucky

    183,209

    332,944

    Texas

    1,463,192

    2,952,035

    Louisiana

    231,482

    405,915

    Utah

    120,838

    288,122

    Maine

    35,042

    64,730

    Vermont

    16,682

    29,348

    Maryland

    154,285

    306,142

    Virginia

    275,089

    493,667

    Massachusetts

    165,143

    299,374

    Washington

    246,432

    492,169

    Michigan

    428,298

    770,922

    West Virginia

    77,050

    128,835

    Minnesota

    115,656

    271,368

    Wisconsin

    155,112

    319,798

    Mississippi

    233,824

    399,191

    Wyoming

    17,998

    30,763

    Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Complete analysis at: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3850.

    Join the November 10 RESULTS National Conference Call with Barbara Ehrenreich

    Barbara Ehrenreich picture

    To help build grassroots support for protecting the EITC, CTC, and other anti-poverty programs, RESULTS is hosting a national outreach call with renowned author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich on Saturday, November 10, at 12:30 pm ET. Ms. Ehrenreich has written extensively about low-income families in America. In her book Nickel and Dimed, Ms. Ehrenreich spent time working in low-wage jobs to investigate what life was like for the working poor. Currently, she is a regular columnist with The Progressive and has also written for Time Magazine, The New York TimesMother JonesThe Atlantic Monthly, and other publications.

    Please urge others to attend this important event, whether they are local or want to dial in from another location across the country. To connect to the call from a different location, RSVP online at: http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSCallNov2012.