Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) just rolled out a new proposal granting a tax credit to working-class families. One legislative expert is calling it “the most significant anti-poverty bill Congress has seen in years.”
Tlaib’s bill, dubbed the BOOST Act, would provide a tax credit to all working-class Americans of up to $3,000 for anyone making $50,000 or less per year, while married households making up to $100,000 per year could get up to $6,000. The tax credit gradually decreases as an individual or couple makes more money. Rep. Tlaib calls the legislation “the earned income tax credit on steroids,” because unlike the Earned Income Tax Credit — which fails to include many Americans, like students, who have no earned income — everyone would be included.
“We’ve seen it historically in the United States of America, these are the programs that have been successful in combating poverty,” Tlaib said. “These are the programs that have been very successful in making sure that our neighbors are taken care of.”
“This is development of communities and neighborhoods,” she added. “When they thrive, the economy does well.”
Aside from Tlaib, Dan Riffle (known as “every billionaire is a policy failure” on Twitter) lauded the Tlaib bill as both “the most significant anti-poverty bill Congress has seen in years” and “a major step forward in progressive policy discourse.”
“For years Dems have treated the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as the gold standard, but it excludes the poorest of the poor by requiring, as the name implies, earned income. Fact is most people with no income are students, elderly, or disabled,” Riffle tweeted. “Rashida’s bill brings everyone in.”
For years Dems have treated the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as the gold standard, but it excludes the poorest of the poor by requiring, as the name implies, earned income. Fact is most people with no income are students, elderly or disabled. Rashida’s bill brings everyone in.
— Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure (@DanRiffle) June 27, 2019
According to an analysis of the bill by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Tlaib’s bill is essentially the opposite of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While 83% of the benefits in the GOP tax cut legislation went to the richest 1% of Americans, Tlaib’s tax cut would go to the poorest 60% of Americans.
“The BOOST Act could help millions of people who would receive no benefit from the other major tax credit proposals, including working-age people who are not employed and retirees who have no earnings and no dependent children and, therefore, would not benefit from the other tax credit proposals,” ITEP wrote. “It is, in other words, the first proposal that would be made fully available to all low-income people and families.”
Tlaib’s bill is the House companion bill to a version already introduced in the U.S. Senate by Kamala Harris (D-California), who is also running for president in 2020.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.