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Mass. is flush with cash, so now what?

Originally posted on The Boston Globe.

With record-setting billions in revenue, we should push to provide tax relief for working families

Re “Bakers call for tax relief gets some traction in Senate” by Matt Stout (Page A1, May 5): Over the past two years, leadings in many states have increasingly made use of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a tax break for low-income workers, to stimulate the economy and deliver relief to families who need it most. Regarded as one of the most effective antipoverty programs in the country, the EITC improves health and financial stability by providing additional income to families to meet their basic needs.

Following a temporary expansion of the federal credit in March 2021, many states, including New England neighbors, expanded their own EITC programs to further address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, immigrant families, and families with low incomes. States both increased the credit amount and, notably, allowed access to taxpaying immigrants, many of whom were excluded from pandemic relief.

Now, after Massachusetts took in a record-setting $6.9 billion in revenue just last month, state leaders have voiced their intention to use this opportunity to address the needs of low-income households and the rising costs of living. As the Legislature considers a tax-relief package, it should be a leader on EITC by including an increase to 50 percent of the federal credit (currently the state’s increase is at 30 percent), and by expanding the credit to taxpaying immigrant households. This would deliver targeted and equitable support and demonstrate a commitment to prioritizing low-income families before giving tax cuts to the wealthy.

Charlotte Bruce

Research and Policy Analyst

Children’s HealthWatch

Boston Medical Center

This writer is co-lead of the statewide Healthy Families EITC Coalition.