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"Since 1975 a federal Earned Income Tax Credit program has been in
effect. The EITC is not welfare of any form. Rather, it is a tax
credit available to low- and moderate-income workers, with by far most
of the help going to parents as opposed to workers without children.
This is in recognition of the reality that raising children adds
substantially to the cost of living. How much a family gets depends
mostly on its earnings. In 1999 the maximum benefit for families with
one child was $2,312. For families with two or more children it was
$3,816. The EITC also is available to individuals and couples without
children, but at a much lower level. The maximum for them in 1999 was
"The federal EITC is adjusted for inflation. And the benefit level is
determined along a sliding scale. Benefits peak at the following
income levels: $5,670 for people with no children; $6,800 for families
with one child; $12,460 for families with two or more children. The
more a family earns after that, the lower the benefits they receive.
But while benefits peak at those levels, the amount of income that can
be received in order for some EITC benefits to be claimed is as
follows: $10,200 for people with no children; $26,928 for families
with one child; and $30,580 for families with two or more children."
New Jersey Policy Perspective
"President Clinton has proposed a $21-billion EITC expansion over ten
years that would expand the maximum credit for working families with
three or more children by $500. The proposal also expands the credit
for married, two-earner couples, providing an average of $250, and
lowers the phase-out rate for families with two or more children. In
addition to the federal credit, 12 states and one locality now offer
EITC"s based on the federal credit."
"Currently, ten states use federal eligibility rules and base their
tax credit on a percentage of the federal EITC. EITCs in states with
refundable credits range from 8.5 percent to 25 percent of the federal
credit, with the exception of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota?s
credit ranges from 22 percent to 46 percent of the federal credit,
depending on family size and income; the average is 29 percent for
families with children. Wisconsin?s credit ranges from 4 percent to 43
percent and is based on the number of children in the family."
"The legislation, passed in October 1999, is expected to provide more
than 12,000 county taxpayers with a credit of up to $400, with an
average credit of $176 for a family of four. The average refund is
expected to grow to $332 during the next two years and apply to 13,600
families making less than $19,000 per year as the refund increases
from 10 percent to 15 percent of the federal refund."
"Nearly 200,000 working families that receive the federal EITC will be
eligible for the state credit. The average range of the state tax
credit will be between $114 and $394 per family in tax year 2000,
rising to between $238 and $823 per family in tax year 2003, when the
program is fully phased in."
The Welfare Information Network
Earned Income Tax Credit Amounts by Family Income Levels, 2004
Gross Federal 25% State 15% State
Earnings EITC EITC EITC
Family of four
with two children
Half-time minimum wage $5,350 $2,140 $535 $321
Full-time minimum wage $10,700 $4,280 $1,070 $642
Wages equal federal
poverty line $19,000 $3,466 $867 $520
Wages equal 150%
of poverty line $28,500 $1,465 $366 $220
Family of three
with one child
Half-time minimum wage $5,350 $1,819 $455 $273
Full-time minimum wage $10,700 $2,604 $651 $391
Wages equal federal
poverty line $15,100 $2,594 $649 $389
Wages equal 150%
of poverty line $22,650 $1,388 $347 $208
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
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