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February 16, 2016

Big Win for Hard-Working, Low-Paid Virginians

Working families throughout Virginia scored a win with passage of legislation to maintain the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit at its current levels, thanks to the efforts of State Senator Hanger, Delegate Ware, and Governor McAuliffe.

In December, Congress made permanent a number of important enhancements to the federal EITC. Specifically, the improvements provide a larger tax credit for families with three or more kids and partially eliminate a reduction in the credit when people get married. Those improvements were mirrored in the state EITC, but they were set to expire in 2017.

Fortunately, the Senate and House passed legislation championed by Senator Hanger and Delegate Ware that makes these enhancements permanent for the state EITC as well. That legislation was quickly approved by the governor a few days later.

What might seem like a small technical matter has an outsized impact on families. As many as 284,000 Virginia families stand to gain from these enhancements becoming permanent. And these are all people who are working – you have to be working to get the credit – only their jobs don’t pay enough for them to afford basic necessities. The EITC brings them a measure of relief and much needed help.

Families throughout Virginia have endured years of rising costs and stagnating wages. The EITC puts money back in the pockets of struggling families come tax time, helping them to pay for the things they need like gas for their car, food for their table, and clothes for their kids. Typically, families turn around and spend their money at local businesses helping to strengthen Virginia’s economy, too.

We thank Senator Hanger, Delegate Ware, Governor McAuliffe, and the rest of the General Assembly for standing up for struggling families across the state by maintaining Virginia’s EITC.

–Jeffrey Connor-Naylor, Program Director

The Commonwealth Institute

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