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Turner/Rice Legislation Restoring Full Funding For Eitc Clears Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner (D – Mercer, Hunterdon) and Senator Ronald L. Rice (D – Essex) that would restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to full funding for New Jersey residents has cleared the full Senate.

“By and large the earned income tax credit is considered one of the most effective means of fighting poverty in the United State s. To cut that benefit during a time of economic recovery was simply cruel and, frankly, lacking in sense. Restoration of that funding is not only the right thing to do, but it is an effective way to give people a lift during these difficult economic times,” said Turner.

“This restoration is about returning New Jersey’s priorities back to its people. The EITC represents a tax break for those who could use it the most – the working poor, not the super rich who simply do not need the help. People are struggling to make ends meet, and it’s about time that we do something to make life a little easier for hard-working, hard-hit New Jerseyans when they need our help the most,” said Rice.

The earned income tax credit is a refundable federal credit program that lessens the burden of payroll taxes such as Social Security and Medicare that disproportionately affect lower income workers. Nationwide, the federal EITC now lifts about 5.1 million people — including 2.6 million children — out of poverty each year. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, it’s the nation’s most effective antipoverty program for working families.

Since the program’s enactment in 1975, 24 states (counting the District of Columbia) have created earned income tax credits that mimic the federal program. Supporters argue that this policy decision contributed to a significant increase in labor force participation among New Jersey families and supplemented the incomes of nearly 280,000 low-income working families, stabilizing their economic outlook as they move up the career ladder and remain independent from public assistance.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, there is extensive evidence that EITCs encourage work. Studies have shown that EITCs encourage families to obtain jobs and remain employed. Perhaps that is why Ronald Reagan called the program “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, and the best job-creation measure to come out of Congress.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.