Standing Room Only at EITC Awareness Congressional Briefing
NCTC, in partnership with 15 other national organizations, held an educational briefing for a full room of bi-partisan congressional staff on January 30th to celebrate National EITC Awareness Day.
Tracy Fischman, NCTC board member and AccountAbility Minnesota Executive Director, moderated the panel and emphasized the EITC’s success fighting poverty, which is important to reflect on considering this is the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. She also described how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs provide quality tax preparation services, helping those who qualify for the credit claim it.
R. Camille Henry, a single mom and former EITC recipient from Maryland, explained how receiving the EITC was a temporary, but vital support to help her achieve her educational goals, which in turn is helping her provide for her family. “Without the support of tax credits throughout the years, some of the opportunities that I have been afforded may not have been possible,” said Henry. Now Henry is a full-time teacher, and recently finished a master’s program in clinical counseling at John Hopkins University.
Henry was joined by two other speakers from Maryland, Hans Riemer, At-Large Member of the Montgomery County Council, and Pamela Luckett, board member of the Montgomery County Community Action Agency. They described the Montgomery County EITC, which is one of the few local EITCs in the country. “Our county uses the federal and state formula to empower our poorest residents with combined county, state, and federal EITC financial relief,” said Riemer. “The result is that one the most effective anti-poverty programs is locally enhanced to offset a high regional cost of living. I hope that in the future, other local governments, especially in jurisdictions that share a high cost of living, offer this tax credit too.”
In their remarks, Amy Matsui from the National Women’s Law Center and Shawn McMahon from Wider Opportunities for Women put into perspective why women particularly benefit from the EITC—they have long been over-represented in low-wage jobs with few benefits.
While economic opportunities are opening up for women, there is still much to be done. Protecting the EITC and other refundable tax credits is one of the steps that policymakers can take to ensure that families and individuals have access to a critical support that can lift them out of poverty.