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Rice Bill To Expand Tax Relief To Lower-Income Residents

Legislator Sponsor Measure to Increase Income Eligibility for State’s Earned Income Credit Program

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice to reduce the tax burden on low-income residents by increasing income eligibility for the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program was approved by the full Senate today.

“The State’s Earned Income Tax Credit program helps the poorest residents by reducing their tax burden, but the current income cut-off for eligibility is $20,000 -which is simply too low,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “The working poor are struggling every day to make it, and we need to give these residents, the help they deserve.”

Senator Rice stated that New Jersey Policy Prospective, a public interest think tank, reported that less than half of our State’s residents who qualify for the federal income tax credit program are eligible for New Jersey’s program.

According to Senator Rice, “A family of four that earns $38,000 would be eligible for the federal earned income credit program, but not New Jersey’s program. We need to catch up to the federal government’s program by increasing our State’s income eligibility. We need to ease the tax burden on our low-income residents– not force them to continue to struggle to just get by,” added Senator Rice.

The bill, S-2525, would provide residents who receive the federal earned income tax credit to qualify for the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program. Those who are eligible would receive a credit equal to twenty percent of the federal program.

“Harmonizing our State’s Earned Income Tax Credit laws with the federal standards is a simple task, and one that will be welcome news to families across the state who are, quite literally, living paycheck to paycheck,” said Senator Rice.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.