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Lagana-Ruiz Bill to Expand the NJEITC Program Goes to Governor

Trenton – To provide needed assistance to young adults working in low-wage jobs, the Legislature today approved a bill sponsored by Senators Joseph Lagana and M. Teresa Ruiz to lower the eligibility age under the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program (NJEITC) from 25 to 21. The bill now goes to the Governor.

“Supported by both progressives and conservatives, the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] is one of the most sensible tax policies in government. It puts money back into the hands of working people, which they spend in their communities,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This proposal will allow young people to take control of their livelihoods, and it is just the beginning. I am committed to continuing the fight for greater expansion of this program to reduce poverty for all of our low income workers and boost local economies.”

“I am grateful we were able to incorporate expanding the earned income tax credit program into this year’s budget process,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Lowering the age of eligibility will provide much needed relief to many hardworking young adults around the state.”

The bill, S-835, would expand the eligibility under the NJEITC program to allow childless taxpayers 21 years or older to qualify. In total, according to studies, this would benefit over 50,000 New Jersey residents. Currently, taxpaying adults over the age of 25 qualify.

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

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 37-2, and out of the Assembly by a vote of 79-0. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.