New federal proposal gives needed boost to Maine’s working families

Mario Moretto (MECEP):

AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, today joined Sens. Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin and Ron Wyden to introduce the Working Families Tax Relief Act — legislation that would begin to fix America’s imbalanced tax laws to help working people with low-wage jobs make ends meet as they work to support themselves and their families.

The proposal would strengthen the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, for working families with children and working people without children at home, ensure that millions of poor children aren’t left out of the Child Tax Credit, or CTC, and boost the CTC for families with very young children.

“A lot of changes were pushed through in 2017’s misguided tax bill, but unfortunately most of these shifts were designed to benefit the wealthiest members of our society,” said Sen. King. “That’s not the type of tax reform most Americans need – they need real relief that will help them care for themselves and their families. The EITC and CTC are two of the most important tools to help lower-income Maine people get ahead, and I’ll keep pushing to strengthen these tax credits so more Maine families have the opportunity to succeed.”

“Many of America’s low-income working families are struggling to stay afloat as costs have risen faster than their pay over several decades,” said Garrett Martin, executive director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “The Working Families Tax Relief Act would give working people a fair shot to get ahead and help low-income parents give their children a good start in life.”

In Maine, the proposal would make 187,000 families more financially secure, benefiting roughly 414,000 Mainers including 164,000 Maine children. It would benefit low- and middle-income Mainers of all races, including 175,000 white families; 3,000 Black families; 2,300 Latinx families, and 2,000 Asian American families.

The proposal stands in stark contrast to the 2017 tax law, which was heavily tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy. For example, under the Working Families Tax Relief Act, a single mom of two earning $20,000 a year would get a $3,700 boost to her income. And, a married couple with two young kids making $45,000 a year would get a $3,500 boost.

For working families, this would mean more money for basic necessities, home repairs, maintaining a car to get to work, or in some cases, additional education or training to get a better, higher-paying job.

Nationally, the legislation would cut child poverty by 28 percent, lifting 3.1 million children out of poverty and making another 7.7 million children less poor.

“The Working Families Tax Relief Act would have lasting benefits for millions of children,” said Sarah Austin, fiscal policy analyst at MECEP. “Kids whose families receive working family tax credits do better in school, are likelier to attend college, and are likely to earn more as adults. That’s important not only for the children themselves, but for our country and economy.”

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