House Democratic leaders and Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel will soon introduce a plan that will help low- and middle- income people by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the standard deduction. These provisions would be included in a long-awaited plan to permanently shield many upper-middle class taxpayers from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Democrats in the House say that their plan would offer more people tax breaks than would the usual "patch" that the Republican-led Congress has periodically enacted to restrain the reach of the AMT.
Opportunity for Organizations to Support Progressive Changes in the Tax Code
Several advocacy groups have begun circulating a national sign-on letter for organizations who support improving the tax code for low-income people. The final deadline to sign on is Friday, May 18, but any organizations signed on earlier can be included in a partial list that will be presented to some members of Congress during lobbying activities by advocates. Click here to sign your organization onto the letter. For anyone who does not represent an organization but wants to get involved, you can send a quick email that will go to your Representative and Senators in support of tax changes that will help low-income people. Click here to send an email.
Advocacy Community Focuses on Tax CreditsAs the Coalition on Human Needs explained in its appeal to organizations, a working family with an income below $11,750 this year is too poor to get the refundable Child Tax Credit.(For a family of three, that's 43 percent below the poverty line.) That leaves out 10 million poor children who would benefit from improvements in this credit. Another credit that can be improved is the EITC, especially as it affects poor childless adults, a group of people who are usually eligible for no federal assistance of any sort. Low-income workers between ages 25-64 who are not raising children are eligible for a very small EITC (last year the maximum was $412; the average credit was only $230).Their average annual earnings were $6,050 in 2005 (about 40 percent below the poverty line for a single individual)