Poor may lack 'powerful lobbies' but have 'greatest needs,' bishop says
Published: July 27, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged the Senate to retain tax credits that keep low-income Americans from sinking into poverty, saying it would be "unjust and unwise" to let them lapse while addressing tax-cut proposals for higher-income Americans. "It would be unjust and unwise to fail to renew improvements and extensions of low-income tax credits as the Congress addresses tax cuts for middle-income and wealthy Americans," said Bishops Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., the committee's chairman, in a July 25 letter addressed to members of the Senate. "Poor working families and their children may not have the most powerful lobbies, but they have the greatest needs and the most compelling claim," he said. At issue are extending the earned income tax credit and the refundable child tax credit. The earned income tax credit was part of a Senate bill, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which passed the upper chamber 51-48 July 25. The bill now goes to the House, where its chances for passage are slimmer. A bill introduced July 24 by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., that would, among other things, extend certain improvements in the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Census Bureau estimated in 2011 that the earned income tax credit, in place since 1975, lifted 5.4 million Americans out of poverty in 2010. The credit was found to have cost the federal government more than $36 billion in 2004. A 2010 federal study found that between 22 and 30 percent who receive the credit do not qualify for it, a cost of $8 billion-$10 billion. But 15 to 25 percent who are eligible for it never claim it.
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