This Fourth of July, Thank Those Who Fight for Our Freedom

02 July 2015 Written by  

dreamstime xl 16541021 smallWhile the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country with family and friends, it’s also a day to honor the heroes who have defended our freedom by serving in our military. One way we can honor service members, veterans, and their families this year is by asking Congress to save key provisions of federal tax credits that help veteran and military families make ends meet.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) make an important difference in the lives of millions of working families across the country, including many service members, veterans and their families. In Utah, 18,000 veteran and military families are benefitting from the EITC, the refundable CTC, or both.

The EITC and CTC help working families make ends meet, and, in particular, help veterans who often encounter barriers putting their valuable skills to work when they return home.

These tax credits help those veterans right here in Utah by allowing them to keep more of what they earn so they can pay for things that enable them to get ahead, like child care, transportation, and housing. And research indicates that the extra take-home pay from these credits helps the children in their families grow up healthier, do better and go further in school, and work and earn more as adults.

We can all agree that no one who has served America in the military should live in poverty when they come home. The EITC and CTC are a critical piece of this commitment, lifting roughly 100,000 veteran and military families out of poverty every year.

However, unless Congress acts, key provisions of these tax credits will expire. If Congress lets that happen, 9,000 Utah veteran and military families would lose some or all of these two tax credits.

For example, a single veteran with two children who works full time at the minimum wage — earning $14,500 — would lose his entire CTC of $1,725.

Instead of letting it come down to the wire for these families and others, Congress should seize the chance this year to make permanent the expiring pieces of the EITC and CTC. Right now, Congress is drafting a “tax extenders” law with billions of dollars in tax breaks for businesses. During this debate, Congress must be fair to veterans, and all working families, by saving key provisions of the EITC and CTC that help them work and support their families.

Congress can also close a glaring gap that leaves childless workers (those who are not claiming kids as dependents on their taxes) with little or no EITC. Closing this gap would help 500,000 service members and veterans nationwide — and it’s no surprise that this proposal has strong bipartisan support, from President Obama to House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Our service members and veterans have made incredible sacrifices to help keep us safe. It’s our duty to make sure they can provide for their families, and pro-work tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit do just that.

This Fourth of July, let’s stand up for our service members, veterans, and their families by making sure they continue to receive these tax credits that are so vital to so many working families.

Military Personnel

Starting   Salary[1]

Federal EITC Amount[2]

U.S. Army Private (E1)

$17,165

$5,460

Marine Corporal (E4)

$24,235

$5,257

Air Force Staff Sergeant (E5)

$26,435

$4,793

     

 


[1] U.S. Department of Defense, 2015 Monthly Basic Pay Tables: http://militarypay.defense.gov/PAY/BASIC/docs/Active%20Duty%20Tables/2015BasicPayTableActiveUncapped.pdf

[2] Based on a family with two adults and two children in 2014. Starting salary data from Utah Department of Workforce Services: http://jobs.utah.gov/jsp/almiswage/alloccs/wage-alloccs. EITC calculator: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2014/ProcessUpdatedSummaryResults.do.

Matthew Weinstein 300Matthew Weinstein, State Priorities Partnership Director, joined the organization in 2014. As State Fiscal Policy Director, he conducts analysis and advocacy focused on the state budget from the perspective of what's best for Utah's children. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College.