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The NAACP Supports the Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for Working Childless Adults

WHEREAS, in December 2015, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a policy provision strongly supported by the NAACP which permanently extended key improvements in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) to the benefit of millions of low- and moderate-income Americans including African Americans and other Americans of color; and

WHEREAS, originally implemented in 2009 and due to expire in 2017, the improvements made permanent in the EITC and the CTC have greatly strengthened the anti-poverty impact of the EITC and CTC. These improvements currently lift about 16 million people, including about 8 million children, out of poverty or closer to the poverty line each year. Included in these figures, about 2.8 million African Americans, including about 1.5 million children, are lifted out of poverty or made less poor each year by the improvements in the EITC and the CTC which are now a permanent part of the tax code; and

WHEREAS, despite this policy victory, low-wage working adults without children remain largely excluded from the current EITC, making them the lone group of workers who the federal tax code actually pushes into or deeper into poverty; and

WHEREAS, more than 1.2 million (or 17 percent) of these childless working adults who are taxed into or deeper into poverty by federal taxes are African American; and

WHEREAS, as part of the six Game Changers for the 21st Century, the NAACP visualizes a future where every person will have equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability, and financial security; and

WHEREAS, even though the workers who would benefit from the expanded EITC are "childless" for tax purposes, some of them are non-custodial parents with parenting and financial obligations to their children, which means that improving these workers' stability and success in the labor market can improve their children's stability and success as well; and

WHEREAS, many Members of Congress, both in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have endorsed proposals to expand the EITC for childless workers and thus extend the pro-work success of the credit to this population and make significant progress toward meeting the core principle that no American worker should be taxed into poverty; and

WHEREAS, some leading experts, including those at the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities, believe that beyond raising these workers' incomes and helping to offset their federal taxes, an expanded EITC for childless workers would also help address some of the challenges faced by young African-American men in particular, including low and falling labor-force participation rates, low marriage rates, and high incarceration rates.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports expansion of the EITC for low-wage childless workers through such actions as lowering the eligibility age, increasing the phase-in rate, and boosting the maximum credit for childless adults.