Help Working Families Move Out of Poverty
Urge your Illinois legislators to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Imagine a brother or sister is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace. Stay warm. Have a nice meal.” What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? James 2:15-16 CEB
Most of us intend to show compassion to those in need, but James sets forth a higher standard by saying that words without actions are meaningless. Then he goes further and says, “In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.” (James 2:17) In other words, faith and action are intimately connected. Scripture – and the CRS mission – calls us to care for those who live in poverty by standing with them to eliminate economic injustice.
We have a great opportunity to take action on behalf of working families who live in poverty by supporting legislation that will increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). With the Fair Tax presently on hold, the EITC is one thing we can do right now to make the Illinois tax code fairer.
Increasing the Illinois EITC from 10 to 20% of the Federal EITC is one of the best investments our state can make. The EITC is both a federal and state tax credit that can only be claimed by taxpayers who earn income through work.
The EITC will:
lift low-income working families out of poverty
boost local economies across the state
make our Illinois tax code fairer
With less than then days left in the legislative session, act now and tell your legislators to invest in working families by doubling the state EITC from 10% to 20% of the federal EITC over five years.
The current state credit in Illinois is 10% of the federal credit, a lower rate than most other states. Doubling the EITC to 20% over five years is good for both lower-wage working families and small businesses—two vital pieces of the Illinois economy that are still recovering from the great recession.
The EITC helps people who work but struggle to make ends meet on low wages. It encourages work and supplements the wages of low- and middle-income workers, helping these workers afford basic needs like groceries, car repairs, child care, and housing.
The EITC is good for small businesses. It boosts local economies across Illinois by helping lower-wage workers keep more of their income—income they spend at local businesses. In 2006, the Brookings Institution found that every dollar a family saves through the EITC translates into $1.58 put back into local economies.
The EITC is one of the most effective policies for reducing poverty among working families and children. Over 900,000 lower-wage Illinois taxpayers received the EITC in 2013. IRS records from 2009 to 2011 show that 294,000 Illinois recipients moved out of poverty, including 146,000 children.
The amount of the credit varies by family income and size. In 2013, a family with two children and a full-time minimum wage worker earning $16,500 was eligible for a state EITC of $537. The average value of the Illinois credit was $236.
Thank you for standing up for working families and children in Illinois.
Visit www.EITCWorks.org, an interactive web application developed by Voices for Illinois Children, which allows you to pinpoint how doubling the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in your area would lift more families out of poverty and boost local economies.