Testimony in Support of the Earned Income Tax Credit to Joint Committee on Revenue (as prepared)

Delivered by Aaron Agulnek, March 31, 2015

We join with this distinguished panel and people across the Commonwealth today to support the bipartisan efforts to increase the EITC both in the state’s share and in utilization through outreach efforts and education. The Jewish community, through our social service agencies and community leaders focus on creating and promoting policies that help individuals and families overcome obstacles to the fulfillment of their aspirations, whether they be job training and education, senior supports and healthcare, healthy living or the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the fabric of our community.

We stand together in support of the EITC as a means to help working people thrive and in particular the beneficial impact on families with children. The outcomes of an increased EITC are clear: improved health of children and mother’s; increased academic performance; increased earning potential for future generations; and greater social security contributions.

Increasing the state’s share puts real money into the hands of people who need it, and I’ll add, do spend it in their communities in which they live. The benefits therefore compounded. But we know an increase alone is not enough. Without a vigorous outreach strategy we are leaving substantial resources on the table. We support efforts to increase awareness and pledge our community’s expertise through trained volunteer tax preparers and other means of public awareness.

Last year we joined together to make Massachusetts a leader in creating one of the highest minimum wages in the country, but we all know that that increase alone does not provide working families with all the tools and resources they need to thrive. The job is not done and we can do more. By increasing the EITC and placing Massachusetts at the front of the pack we can continue to do justice for workers and families across the commonwealth.