Report urges EITC restoration

TRENTON – A new report argues for a restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit as an effective anti-poverty tool that has benefited hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans.

The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities claims that in 2010, the EITC and the Child Tax Credit combined helped 211,000 residents get out of poverty.

The N.J. Policy Perspective, a left-leaning advocate, urges a full, immediate restoration of the EITC as a result.

The Legislature in February approved A3793/S2535, which would increase benefit amounts under the New Jersey earned income tax credit program to 25 percent of the federal level. The bill has not been acted on by the governor yet.

The New Jersey earned income tax credit is a refundable credit intended to “make work pay” by offsetting the burden of taxes for low and moderate income workers.

However, Republicans have argued that such restoration necessitates tens of millions of dollars which the state doesn’t have at this time.

Gov. Chris Christie in January had vetoed a minimum wage increase bill and offered instead to link a phased-in hike to an EITC restoration. Democratic leadership rejected that arrangement. The minimum wage increase is to go before voters as a referendum.

NJPP claims in its report that EITC is such an important tool that it should be restored fully.

“These tax credits can make the difference between despair and hope for struggling New Jersey families,” says Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, in a release with the report. “And the payoff – ensuring that our children get the education and skills they need to graduate and compete for good jobs – is vitally important to New Jersey’s future economy.”

Report urges EITC restoration