Boston, Mass. (March 4, 2015) – We applaud Governor Baker’s proposal to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a very effective tool to help low income people become economically independent and is among the programs that help more than 840,000 people each year leave or avoid poverty in the Commonwealth. Last November, we urged federal and state elected officials to join with low income people and nonprofits to end poverty by building on successful anti-poverty programs like the EITC, fuel assistance and SNAP (food stamps). The Governor’s proposal, like the recent increase in the minimum wage, represents real progress toward the goal of easing the historic levels of poverty that the Commonwealth is facing and will help to address the wage gap. Additionally, it will offer low income working families an opportunity to cover their costs, save and practice good financial planning.
Community Action Agencies help more than 18,000 tax payers a year across Massachusetts access the EITC and other tax credits. Through our volunteer tax assistance program (VITA) program, more than $30 million has been returned to hard working but low income families across the Commonwealth. As such and as part of his ETIC expansion proposal, we recommend that Governor Baker also make a modest investment in the agencies that run VITA sites to ensure that as many eligible tax payers can take advantage of this important anti-poverty tool.