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Lagana, Ruiz Bill to Expand the NJEITC Program Clears Committee

Trenton – To provide needed assistance to New Jersey residents working in low-wage jobs, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senators Joseph Lagana and M. Teresa Ruiz to expand the eligibility age under the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program (NJEITC) from 21 to 18, and remove the age cap of 65 years old.

“Supported by both progressives and conservatives, the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the most sensible tax policies in government. It puts money back into the hands of working people, which they will spend in their communities,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Last year, I promised we would continue to expand eligibility for the tax credit in an effort to reduce poverty in New Jersey and allow more people to take more control of their livelihoods. We are delivering on that promise, and will continue to fight for an even greater expansion of this program to support all of our low-income workers, which will also boost local economies.”

“Over the years the EITC program has proven to be beneficial to both the individuals and families collecting the credit and the overall state economy. Reducing the age of eligibility will allow more young adults to take advantage of this program, putting hard-earned money back in their pockets and ultimately back into their local economies. This is a great first step but there are so many more that can and should be included in this program. We will continue our efforts during next year’s budget process to further expand this important program.”

The bill, S-3428, would expand the eligibility under the NJEITC program to allow childless taxpayers 18 years or older to qualify. In total, according to studies, this would benefit around 90,000 New Jersey residents. In addition, the bill would remove the cap 65 years old, which would help around another 70,000 residents over 65 years of age.

Currently, taxpaying adults over the age of 21 and under 65 qualify. Senators Lagana and Ruiz previously sponsored legislation in 2020 that successfully expanded the NJEITC from ages 25 and older to 21.

The NJEITC supplements the federal EITC benefit program by providing a state benefit that has grown over the past few years from 35 percent to 40 percent of the federal level with this year’s budget.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 11-0.