Children’s HealthWatch Submits Written Testimony to the MA Joint Committee on Revenue

On December 13, 2021, Children’s HealthWatch submitted testimony to Chairman Hinds, Chairman Cusack, and distinguished members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue in strong support of H.2871/S.1841: An Act to increase family stabilization through the earned income tax credit. We would also like to express our strong support for S.1852: An Act providing a guaranteed minimum income to all Massachusetts families, which is identical in legislative text and will be heard by the Committee on January 12th, 2022.

The mission of Children’s HealthWatch is to improve the health and development of young children by informing policies that address and alleviate economic hardships. We accomplish this mission by interviewing caregivers of young children on the frontlines of pediatric care, in urban emergency departments and primary care clinics in five cities: Boston, Minneapolis, Little Rock, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Our headquarters are located at Boston Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1998, we have interviewed over 75,000 caregivers of children under four years of age, and analyzed those interviews to determine the impact of public policies on the health and development of young children. Based on this research, we understand the ways in which income supports and direct cash, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) impact the health and economic mobility of children and families. We write today in strong support of H.2871/S.1841 and S.1852, which would expand and transform the EITC through five reforms to ensure that everyone in the Commonwealth can receive a basic income.

Children’s HealthWatch also leads the Healthy Families EITC Coalition, a statewide nonpartisan network of advocates working to improve the health and well-being of Massachusetts children and families through an increase in the state EITC and supporting free tax preparation sites. Our 30-plus member coalition is comprised of a diverse array of community-based agencies, legal advocates, professional associations, civil rights organizations, and most importantly – Massachusetts workers and their families.

The testimony points out that bold expansions to the EITC will alleviate financial hardship and help families get ahead. Additionally, it emphasizes that the EITC and other direct cash payments are evidence-based programs to improve the health and trajectory of children. These policies are associated with better birth and health outcomes, higher educational attainment, and economic mobility. The EITC is effective at reaching families of color, who are overrepresented among low income workers and disproportionately experience higher rates of poverty and associated poor health outcomes compared to white families. Furthermore, H.2871/S.1841 and S.1852 align with recent bipartisan and bicameral recommendations from the Massachusetts legislature to promote health equity and an equitable recovery for Massachusetts families.