During his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Obama made it clear that the key to economic prosperity is ensuring that even more Americans can get ahead. Too many Americans work hard and take responsibility, only to find themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck. To grow our economy, we must invest in education and manufacturing, while helping working Americans make ends meet through tax relief like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The EITC provides a critical lifeline for low-income workers, lifting millions of people out of poverty. In 2012, nearly 945,000 Ohio families received an EITC of about $2,300. This credit is invaluable to parents trying to stretch their paychecks to put food on the table, pay bills, and provide medical care for their children.
Low-income workers without children, however, receive much lower EITC benefits or none at all – making them the only group of workers that can be taxed into poverty. My guest to the State of the Union address, Jason Jacobs, is one of these workers.
Jason graduated from Ohio University and, like so many other young Ohioans, he was determined to make a difference in his community. He now works as a para-professional, providing critical education and care for junior high students with disorders including autism, ADHD, and severe anxiety. Despite the hours he works in the classroom and the after-hours time that goes into planning lessons, Jason is only just scraping by. His story is all too common.
My plan to expand the EITC to workers without children would put more money in Jason’s pocket and in the pockets of 15.2 million tax filers nationwide. This money – which gets pumped right back into the economy – is used to pay for essential expenses, like groceries and prescription medications.
Ohioans who work hard to put food on the table deserve the chance to provide for their families and build economic security. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues – on both sides of the aisle – to stand up for working Americans.