As Labor Day approaches, we want to do our part to honor workers and their contributions to our economy. What better way to do that then by supporting policies to raise their incomes?
More than 2.3 million hard-working Washingtonians who earn low wages would see a meaningful boost to their incomes under the Working Families Tax Relief Act. The policy is one of many commonsense federal proposals to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), two of the most successful anti-poverty measures in the United States.
All Washingtonians contribute to our vibrant and growing state economy. But people working in low-wage occupations have long been stretched thin by stagnating wages and the rising costs of living. Moreover, low-wage workers without children are the only group of Americans who are actually pushed further into poverty under the federal tax code. If passed, the Working Families Tax Relief Act would substantially ameliorate that problem, giving these workers a meaningful boost to their incomes in the form of a tax refund.
Cashiers, retail workers, and home care aids would benefit the most from the Working Families Tax Relief Act, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The graph below shows the top 15 occupations that stand to gain the most from the Working Families Tax Relief Act. Millions of Washingtonians who teach our children, care for our loved ones, and serve our meals would be better able to put food on the table, pay rent, and support their families.
The Working Families Tax Relief Act would also move the needle on racial equity. In Washington state alone, an estimated 54,000 Black households and 142,000 Latinx households would benefit from the bill. People of color are over-represented in low-wage occupations and paid less than their white counterparts due to discriminatory practices and racist policies that continue to created barriers to opportunity for communities of color. The Working Families Tax Relief Act would put money back in the pockets of people most harmed by centuries of racism.
State expansions of the EITC go even further to support working families. If passed, the Working Families Tax Credit—Washington state’s version of the EITC—would have provided an average income boost of $350 to hardworking Washingtonians, including immigrant workers, low-income college students, and people with disabilities. During this past legislative session, Washington lawmakers could have passed this commonsense proposal, but the legislation stalled. We have an opportunity in the 2020 legislative session to ensure Washington’s EITC makes it past the finish line, along with the Working Families Tax Relief Act at the federal-level.
You can help lift up fellow Washingtonians by asking your federal representative to cosponsor the Working Families Tax Relief Act (H.R. 3157) and encouraging your state representatives to support the Working Families Tax Credit.