December 7, 2015. Senator Charles Schumer joined with leading anti-poverty advocates today to insist that Congress not permanently extend business tax credits without first making permanent tax credits to working poor families. The improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that were enacted several years ago are extremely important to millions of working families across the country, including nearly 1.5 million children in 755,000 New York families. Yet these improvements are scheduled to expire in 2017—and if they do, more than 1.1 million New Yorkers will be pushed into or deeper into poverty as a result.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit provide vital support to millions of hard working and often struggling fellow Americans. In the emerging tax extenders deal the bottom line is that we must make permanent these critical programs that do so much to boost economic opportunity. If Congress allows the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit to expire, more than one million New York families will fall into poverty. That is why I am urging my colleagues in Congress to take action and make sure the provisions in these two tax benefits are made permanent in the upcoming tax legislation,” said Senator Charles Schumer.
The groups called on Congress to seize the opportunity this year to make the EITC and CTC improvements permanent and prevent millions of working Americans from falling into poverty. No other issue affecting so many struggling working families and their children is before Congress the rest of this session. The groups urged the members of the New York delegation to do everything they can to make these vital provisions permanent this year.
“Each year we track hardships experienced by low-income New Yorkers struggling to stay out of poverty. In 2015, over a third of the city’s low-income working families reported falling behind on their rent, nearly half (48 percent) had less than $500 in savings in the case of an emergency, and one in five could not afford subway and bus fares,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society. “The EITC and the Child Tax Credit are the two most effective federal tools for lifting working families out of poverty. Making these crucial tax credits permanent, and expanding the EITC to provide greater benefits to younger workers and tax filers without children, rewards work and contributes to strengthening low-income neighborhoods and the local businesses that serve them.”
“We know that nearly 50 percent of New Yorkers are just getting by or finding it difficult to do so,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “We also know that the EITC is an anti-poverty policy with demonstrated effectiveness in helping to drastically reduce poverty in New York City. We call on members of Congress to support this vital work support policy and bring much needed relief to people struggling to make ends meet in New York and throughout the country.”
“The Earned Income Tax Credit allows working families and individuals to make ends meet. It has proven to be an effective tool in expanding opportunity across the country. Reducing the benefit would be detrimental to our economy. Working class people need these dollars to pay for basic needs like rent, food, and utilities. It is exhausting to think that we have to fight to keep something so obviously useful in place,” said Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York.
“There is simply too much at stake in this debate for us to remain silent. We need to make sure that the improvements made to the EITC and CTC are made permanent. If these provisions are allowed to lapse over 500,000 children, 30,000 veterans and 1.1 million struggling New Yorkers overall will be pushed deeper into poverty and that is unacceptable,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.
“CHCF knows all too well the struggles of the families with whom we work. They are the faces of the working poor and like many Latino families in our most vulnerable neighborhoods, they make up 25% of those in the Latino community living in poverty. To weaken vital work incentives like EITC and CTC is the equivalent of abandoning families who are trying their best to work, provide for their loved ones and climb their way out of poverty. On a larger scale these incentives bring a revenue stream into communities that desperately need them. EITC has already proven to assist by lifting families out of poverty and improve outcomes for those eligible for the tax credit. This is not the time to go backwards, our families and communities cannot afford it and they have worked hard for it,” said Grace C. Bonilla, President/CEO, The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc.
“While poverty is difficult for anyone, the impact on children can be permanently damaging,” says Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis & Advocacy. “Children, whose brains are just developing, need good nutrition, stability, and high-quality early learning experiences to grow and develop, but the odds are against them if they are poor. 42% (1,725,873) of New York children live in low-income families and 47% (804,292) of children in low-income families have at least one parent who is employed full-time, year-round. Together, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) act as a force multiplier to help children and working families escape poverty, build assets, and improve their long-term health and academic achievements.”
“On Chanukah we’re called to bring light into a world that needs it. Our country is suffering from an unsustainable chasm between rich and poor, with far too many of our fellow citizens living in poverty. The EITC and CTC are among the most effective anti-poverty programs in our nation’s history. As a Reform rabbi, I am raising my voice at this time to fulfill my tradition’s call to speak and act for justice by lifting working families out of poverty with dignity,” said Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn, Union of Reform Judaism.