The Healthy Families EITC Coalition Submits Witten Testimony to the MA Joint Committee on Revenue

On February 22, 2022, the Healthy Families EITC Coalition submitted testimony to Chairman Cusack, Chairman Hinds, and distinguished members of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue on H.4361: An Act to improve Massachusetts’ competitiveness and reduce the cost of living. On behalf of the Healthy Families EITC Coalition, we strongly urge the Committee to include provisions in this tax bill that offset costs for families with low incomes and reduce disparities in the Commonwealth. Specifically, we urge the Committee to increase the state match of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 50 percent of the federal credit, and to expand EITC eligibility to immigrants who file taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

The Healthy Families EITC Coalition is a statewide nonpartisan network of advocates working to improve the health and well-being of Massachusetts children and families through an expansion of the state EITC and support of free tax preparation sites. Our 30-plus member coalition convened by Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center and 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. While we are appreciative of provisions currently in H.4361 that would support households with low incomes – namely the doubling of the household dependent care credit – we urge the legislature to make improvements to the EITC in order to more equitably and generously target families with low incomes.

Increasing the EITC match rate and expanding eligibility to immigrant workers would directly support families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and still struggling to make ends meet. Lack of access to basic needs is associated with poor child health and development, poor parental physical and mental health, and child hospitalization rates. The health impact of these hardships is often compounded, as they are frequently experienced simultaneously, often as a result of limited income and resources. Currently, the state has an opportunity to prevent this and address longstanding inequities by investing in the EITC. Furthermore, these improvements would contribute to an equitable health and financial recovery, as lessons from the Great Recession demonstrate that these families will take longer to recover than others, even as the economy as a whole rebounds.