One tool that’s being used to narrow the yawning income divide between the haves and have-nots is the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax refund that is offered to lower-wage earners based on the size of family and overall income. Until now, childless adults were eligible for a very small sum under the federal EITC, but Congress is debating how to expand it.
According to a report by New Jersey Policy Perspective, if Congress adopts the most generous expansion of the program being proposed by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), 504,000 New Jerseyans would benefit. That’s nearly 11 percent of the labor force. But even the most restrictive proposals by President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan would see the EITC expanded to 343,000 workers in New Jersey, or 7.3 percent of the labor force.
All of the proposals would expand the EITC to childless workers, lower the minimum age to receive it (it’s currently 25), and increase the amount of funding.