SALT LAKE CITY – As the nation gears up to celebrate Independence Day, some of those who have fought hard to defend it also fight to stay afloat financially.
<a href=”http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3986″ target=”parent”>A new national report</a> focuses on the importance of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to military families, concluding that they make a big difference for 1.5 million families across the nation.
Tracy Gruber, policy analyst for Voices for Utah Children, pointed out that paychecks are modest for most enlisted personnel, and said she thinks a break on their taxes is the least the nation can do.
“That’s a special kind of sacrifice,” she said, “and fortunately, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are helping fill that gap for them and keep those families, in large numbers, out of poverty – including the 13,000 families in Utah.”
Gruber said it’s important to note that people only can benefit from these tax credits if they are working.
The report, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, crunched U.S. census and Internal Revenue Service data to deliver its findings.
About half of the states also have a state Earned Income Tax Credit, although the Utah Legislature has resisted creating one despite multiple attempts. It would have been a fraction of the federal credit and would have cost an estimated $22 million a year. Lawmakers decided the state can’t find the money; Gruber says they didn’t see the local economic benefits.
“People who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit are working hard every day,” she said. “They quickly spend those credits in our communities, and that helps not only the family receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit but also the Utah economy.”
According to the report, the federal EITC keeps more than 140,000 families nationwide from falling below the poverty line and reduces the severity of poverty for another 800,000 members of military families.
The report is online at <a href=”http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3986″ target=”parent”>cbpp.org</a>.