October 2015 U.S. Poverty Action
Save Working Families from Deeper Poverty
Congress is working to finalize a number of big issues this fall, including making certain business tax credits permanent. Yet, key provisions of the EITC and CTC will expire in 2017, which would force 16 million people into or deeper into poverty, half of them children. No matter Congress takes up tax legislation, we need to keep pushing that if they make permanent ANY business tax breaks, they must also save the EITC and CTC provisions. Set up face-to-face meetings with your senators and representatives this month and urge them to save the EITC and CTC provisions (Congress is on recess October 12-16). We also urge you to call Senate tax aides to reiterate this message.
Tell Lawmakers and Tax Aides to Save EITC and CTC Provisions
For information on how to set up a face-to-face meeting with senators and representatives this month, see our Activist Toolkit at: http://www.results.org/skills_center/milestone_12/. Find the names of tax aides at: http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/. Use the talking points below when talking to senators:
If you schedule a meeting or plan to attend a town hall, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help in getting you and your group ready. After any meeting or town hall event, be sure to follow up with the congressional staff and also fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form at www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.
Refresher on Expiring EITC and CTC Provisions
It’s important to remember that after 2017, the EITC and CTC will still be in place, but they will be much smaller. Here is a refresher of the provisions that will expire in 2017:
Responses to Possible Questions about the EITC and CTC
Objection: I am concerned with the fraud rate of the EITC.
Response: We agree there needs to be a reduction in EITC errors – but to be clear, these are often unintentional errors, not fraud. As we both know, filing taxes can be complicated, especially in complex family situations like when parents divorce. Studies indicate that often these aren’t errors, and 85 percent of children are claimed correctly. Steps have been taken to reduce the EITC error rate, and more steps should be taken – we hope you will support that effort. I can send you more details about the Treasury Department’s recommendations. Nevertheless, it’s imperative that the error rate not be used as an excuse to penalize honest hard-working families by failing to maintain the EITC and CTC provisions currently scheduled to expire after 2017.
Objection: Why are we talking about this now? These improvements don’t expire until 2017.
Response: Actually, this is best time to deal with this issue. Some in Congress have signaled that they will try to make some or all business tax breaks (including the so-called “tax extenders”) permanent, without offsetting the cost. Congress must show they support working families by making the EITC and CTC provisions for modest-income working families permanent as well. This is good policy and hard-working Americans shouldn’t have the threat of deeper poverty hanging over them for months or years on end. It’s the right thing to do.
Objection: Don’t worry, I support the EITC and the CTC, you don’t need to talk with me.
Thank you so much but we’re really worried that these programs could get lost and not be included in a tax deal and we’d be hugely grateful for your active support on this. We need supporters to be actively talking to leadership and their colleagues about the importance of the EITC and CTC to America’s working families. Without your voice and active participation in this effort, negotiators will assume they can ignore these provisions in any final tax deal. We’d like to follow up with your office after you’ve talked with Senate leadership – when should we do that?