Tackle inequality, coronavirus with tax credits for working families | Opinion
April 13, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the global economy, governments at every level are scrambling for ways to support vulnerable workers and their families. There is certainly a need for new and creative thinking to meet these new challenges, and that includes expanding existing programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Over the past several decades, income growth in New Jersey and across the country has primarily gone to the top 1 percent of households, doing very little to improve the lives of middle-class and low-income families. The past decade saw a booming economy, stock-market highs, and record low-unemployment, yet far too many New Jerseyans continue to struggle.
The sad truth is that there are more New Jerseyans living in poverty in 2020, even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit, than there were before the Great Recession over a decade ago. This is bad news for everyone, regardless of their income, as poverty hurts the economy, increases public health risks, and ultimately weakens our communities.
The good news is that poverty isn’t an enigma. We know what works at lifting families out of it and what doesn’t. That’s precisely why New Jersey, and the nation, should expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).