Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation to help American families who are living below the poverty level. The current tax code discourages many families from going to work because they would actually make more money by simply staying home and collecting welfare. Kerry's plan, the Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Act of 2011, will reform the EITC to help lift more families out of poverty and reward work.
"The last thing our tax code should do is penalize people for finding jobs," Senator Kerry said. "Folks below the poverty level are so far in the hole that they simply won't be able to dig their way out unless we throw them a rope. In this economy, every penny counts, and this bill offers common sense help to the families who are hurting the most."
The Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit Act of 2011 strengthens the EITC by making marriage penalty relief permanent, making the credit for families with three or more children permanent, expanding the credit for individuals with no children, simplifying the EITC, and increasing the penalty for tax preparers. The provisions in this legislation will benefit over 100,000 children in Massachusetts each year.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other government program. It lifted 6.5 million people -- including 3.3 million children -- above the poverty line in 2009.