The senator’s bill to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to help low-income people who don’t have kids and young adults is echoed in the president’s just-released budget.
Brown told reporters Tuesday in a telephone conference call that he welcomes the president’s help.
“Ensuring that hard work means a path to a middle class life should be a bipartisan goal,” Brown said. “The president’s budget proposal is an important step toward ensuring that Americans who work hard and take responsibility can take home more of their pay each month”
The Earned Income Tax Credit — available only to Americans who earned money by working in a job — provides cash through federal income tax returns to help low-income Americans. To get it, low-income taxpayers have to file an income tax return.
Taxpayers have to be at least 25 years old to earn the tax credit, and the maximum age is 64. It’s also much more generous for people who have children than for people who are childless.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank that focuses on helping low- and moderate-income Americans, says Obama’s budget and Brown’s “Working Families Tax Relief Act” would both lower the eligibility age for the tax credit from 25 to 21.
Brown’s bill would raise the maximum credit for childless Americans to about $1,400, while Obama’s proposal would raise it toabout $1,000. There are two other bills in Congress that also seek to expand the credit, the think tank says.
The think tank says childless workers currently get an average credit of about $270, compared to an average of $2,900 for eligible workers who have children.
Citing economists such as Karl Scholz and Ron Haskins, the think tank argues that expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit would encourage more young men to obtain jobs and would thereby even increase their chances of getting married.
Brown said he also wants the Earned Income Tax Credit to become better known. He said more than 200,000 Ohioans who are eligible for the tax credit fail to obtain it, apparently because they don’t know about it.
Although Brown’s weekly phone calls with the press always focus on a particular issue, he takes questions on almost any topic.
On Tuesday, however, he said he was asking every reporter on the call to help Ohioans find out about the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“This one, I really do ask all of you to help spread the word” he said.
Low income Ohioans who need to find out how to get free help in filling out their tax returns may call 1-800-906-9887.