Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today joined Senators Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden to introduce the Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA), legislation that would begin to fix our tax laws to help working people with low-wage jobs make ends meet as they work to support themselves and their families. The proposal would strengthen the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families, most of whom have children, ensure that millions of poor children aren’t left out of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and boost the CTC for families with very young children.
“For far too long tax laws have favored the wealthy at the expense of working families. Many of New Mexico’s low-income working families are struggling to stay afloat as costs have risen faster than their pay over several decades,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “The Working Families Tax Relief Act would give working people a fair shot to get ahead and help low-income parents give their children a good start in life.”
The proposal stands in stark contrast to the 2017 tax law, which was heavily tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy.
In New Mexico, the WFTRA would make 334,000 families more financially secure, benefiting more than 841,000 New Mexicans including 368,000 New Mexico children. It would benefit low- and middle-income New Mexicans of all races, including 8,000 Black families, 163,000 Hispanic families, 50,000 Native American families, and 104,000 white families.
For example, a single mom of two earning $20,000 a year would get a $3,700 boost to her income. And, a married couple with two young kids making $45,000 a year would get a $3,500 boost. For working families, this would mean more money for basic necessities, home repairs, maintaining a car to get to work, or in some cases, additional education or training to get a better, higher-paying job.
Nationally, the WFTRA would cut child poverty by 28 percent, lifting 3.1 million children out of poverty and making another 7.7 million children less poor.
“The Working Families Tax Relief Act would have lasting benefits for millions of children,” said Amber Wallin, deputy director of NM Voices. “Kids whose families receive working family tax credits do better in school, are likelier to attend college, and are likely to earn more as adults.” That’s important not only for the children themselves but for our state, nation, and economy,”
Senators Udall and Heinrich should continue to work with Congress to substantially strengthen the EITC and CTC and help give working people and their children a fair shot to get ahead.
See an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities of the bill here.