This week, in her testimony at the Revenue Committee hearing in the State House, Amy O’Leary shared a vital message with Massachusetts legislators:
“Across Massachusetts, families are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of food, housing, and childcare. At the same time, those earning the least pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than higher-income families. That’s unfair,” O’Leary, the executive director of Strategies for Children said in her testimony.
O’Leary drew on work done by the Early Childhood Agenda, which solicited feedback from across the state and created a roadmap for improving children’s lives. One vital goal that emerged in the Agenda’s work is to help families become financially secure.
The strategy for achieving this goal is Solution #3 on the Agenda:
“Provide a guaranteed minimum income for MA families and ensure we have an adequate safety net—expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), create a robust and inclusive Child and Family Tax Credit (CFTC) and raise cash assistance grants.”
Governor Maura Healey has already called for a new family tax credit for residents “who are struggling to get by as the cost of living continues to skyrocket past them.”
And as O’Leary explains in her testimony, enacting these tax policies would have several benefits:
“These credits have the unique ability to reach families who are ineligible for public assistance programs (e.g. child care subsidies, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) but still struggle to afford basic needs. Because they are distributed through the tax system, they do not affect eligibility for other needs-based programs.”
More information about this approach is available from The Healthy Families Tax Credits Coalition, “a statewide nonpartisan network of advocates” that is calling for the expansion of the EITC and the creation of a CFTC. Today at the State House, the Coalition is launching its campaign to expand and improve these tax credits.
Now, it’s up to state legislators to act. As this State House News story published in the Worcester Business Journal explains:
“The fine details of the governor’s tax package are nearly certain to change, probably a few times, as it moves along through the committee process and if it reaches either branch of the Legislature for a vote.”
“To a large extent, the fate of Healey’s tax proposal will be determined by the House and particularly House Speaker Ronald Mariano since legislation changing state tax policy has to start in the House.”
Your advocacy can help. Please contact your legislators and ask them to support tax policies that help families.
Creating more economic stability is indeed a crucial way to improve the lives of young children and their parents.