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Earned income tax credit bill aimed at helping lower income working families

Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 19:54:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill introduced in the Utah State Legislature promises to put more money in the pockets of lower income families.

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House Bill 307 would make an earned income tax credit available at the state level. Right now, 30 states have adopted state matches to the federal earned income tax credit that has been around since President Gerald Ford's administration.

"It’s about one out of every six Utah families that files for the earned income tax credit every year," said Matthew Weinstein, Fiscal Policy Director with Voices for Utah Children.

Weinstein says they analyzed all of the tax proposals on Capitol Hill. They found the earned income tax credit would help lower income Utahns the most.

"It will mean hundreds of additional dollars coming to them when they file their Utah taxes and that’s a terrific place to start," said Weinstein.

The bill is being sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Winder from West Valley City. Winder says how much a family could get from the earned income tax credit depends on the number of dependents and a sliding scale when it comes to income.

"For a family of four making $35,000 a year, we are talking about a couple of hundred dollars, few hundred dollars, so, that means a lot if you are trying to figure out how to pay for school, shoes or if you have an auto repair that crops up," said Winder.

Winder says the bill is a way to help out working families when they need it the most.

"They have been hit harder than anybody with the big inflation we have been seeing, we as a state also have a need to get people back to work, there are a lot of help wanted signs out there, so this does those two things," said Rep. Winder.

With the Senate voting last week on a $160 million tax cut, leaders on both sides of the aisle expressed a willingness to look at the earned income tax credit bill.

"We have always been supportive of earned income tax credits and we are certainly looking forward to seeing that version," Sen. Luz Escamilla, Senate Minority Whip.

"I think there is fairly reasonable reception over here for earned income tax credit," added Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers.

The Democrats still favor repealing the state portion of the sales tax on food. However, Republican leaders have signaled they are still not willing to consider it.