Governor Proposes Expanding Tax Credit that Encourages Work and Improves Children’s Opportunities

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 6:54 AM by

Governor Walker has proposed increasing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit for some families, a move that would improve child well-being and expand economic opportunity for families with low and moderate incomes. He included the measure in his proposal for the budget period that runs from July 2017 to June 2019.

Expanding Wisconsin’s EITC would give a much-deserved break to working parents with low and moderate incomes. The EITC lets working families keep more of what they earn to help meet basic needs and pay for things that allow them to keep working, such as child care and transportation. This tax credit offers working parents a hand up by encouraging and supporting work. It’s a modest investment that can make a big difference in the lives of families.

The EITC also boosts local communities and economies across the state. It puts more money in the pockets of low-wage workers, who then spend it at local businesses to pay for things like groceries and child care. Read more

Get the Credit You Deserve: Tax Credit Information in English, Spanish, and Hmong

Friday, January 20, 2017 at 8:50 AM by

Many Wisconsin low-income families miss out on their full tax refund because they do not claim tax credits for which they are eligible —particularly the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Homestead Tax Credit, and the federal child tax credit.  Please help us get these flyers, which explain the eligibility for these credits, into the hands of low-income families who could benefit.

English Version

Spanish Version

Hmong Version Read more

Categories: Blog, EITC, Homestead credit, STATE TAXES | Comments Off on Get the Credit You Deserve: Tax Credit Information in English, Spanish, and Hmong

Critics Use Wrong Yardstick to Measure Safety Net’s Success

Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 9:15 AM by
Speaker Ryan and other conservatives are calling for sweeping changes that would seriously weaken safety net programs, and a core argument for those changes is way off the mark. By using a measure that excludes most of the government’s poverty-reduction investments, he sets back the public discourse about the effectiveness of current programs.
Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, EITC, FEDERAL BUDGET & TAXES, food stamps, In Focus Fed Budget Tax, poverty, refundable tax credits, TANF | Comments Off on Critics Use Wrong Yardstick to Measure Safety Net’s Success

A Bipartisan Option for Promoting Work & Reducing Inequality

Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 3:46 PM by

An Increased EITC for Childless Adults Would Reduce Poverty and Enjoys Bipartisan Support

Income inequality has been on the minds of many voters during the presidential primaries. If you think it’s only a concern of Democrats, take a look at the results of the most recent “Wisconsin Survey” – a St. Norbert’s poll conducted for Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. The survey last week of 616 registered Wisconsin voters found that 66% favor “increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations in order to help reduce income inequality in the U.S.,” compared to only 28% who said they were opposed.

There are lots of different ways to adjust taxes (and labor policy) to reduce income inequality. Unfortunately, most of those – such as closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing the minimum wage – have little chance in Congress right now.  But one promising policy option that does have a chance is to provide a significant increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for adults who don’t have dependent children. Read more

Categories: Blog, EITC, federal issues, income inequality, income taxes, poverty, refundable tax credits, taxes | Comments Off on A Bipartisan Option for Promoting Work & Reducing Inequality

Tax Credit Lifts Working Families in Northern, Rural Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 12:20 PM by

The Earned Income Tax Credit helps working families all across the state, and gives an especially large boost to families in northern and rural Wisconsin, according to recently-released information from the state’s Department of Revenue.

The EITC is a tax credit that benefits working parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Receiving the credit is associated with a whole host of positive outcomes for children and families, including helping children do better in school, raising college attendance rates, and improving the health of family members.

The number of families in Wisconsin that are strengthened by the EITC is substantial. In 2014, 253,000 of the total 2.9 million tax returns filed in Wisconsin included the EITC. That translates to 753,000 people in Wisconsin living in families that received the EITC. Those families received $99.6 million in EITC credits for 2014 – money they could use to make investments that help them keep working and improve the economic security of their family, such as paying for car repairs or saving for their children’s college educations. Read more

Categories: Blog, ECONOMIC SECURITY, EITC, STATE TAXES | Comments Off on Tax Credit Lifts Working Families in Northern, Rural Wisconsin

Welfare Reform Block Grant Funds Once Again at Risk in Wisconsin

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 5:18 PM by

The Joint Finance Committee will vote Thursday on whether to divert more funds from the federal welfare reform block grant to help finance unrelated parts of the state budget.  The amount of those funds transferred to the Department of Revenue (DOR) has already been increased dramatically in each of the last two budgets.  $62.5 million per year from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant is being used to replace state funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and that maneuver reduces the funding available for important programs to assist vulnerable low-income families.   

According to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau paper (#215) , federal law would allow the state to transfer up to $12.3 million more to DOR in the next biennium, in order to back out state General Fund dollars for the EITC.

Optimally, legislators should decrease the use of TANF funding for the EITC, which is what the Department of Children and Families (DCF) proposed last fall in the budget request they submitted to the Department of Administration.  Read more

Better Choices: A Blueprint for Avoiding Harmful Budget Cuts

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 2:07 PM by

Legislators Can Avoid Deep Cuts without Raising Taxes

Wisconsin needs a budget that invests in the building blocks of a strong economy.  Healthy families, safe and stable communities, and a well-educated workforce are assets critical to helping Wisconsin remain an attractive place to live, raise families, and do business. By strengthening these resources, the state budget can lay the groundwork for broad-based prosperity and an economy that works for everyone.

Unfortunately, the budget proposed by the Governor makes deep and unnecessary cuts to investments vital to Wisconsin’s long-term economic success. For example, the proposed budget would reduce resources for public education – a cut that would come on top of dramatic reductions in resources that have already occurred. The budget would also make deep cuts in state support for the University of Wisconsin System, giving a tremendous blow to one of the engines of Wisconsin’s long-term prosperity. The proposed budget would also make it harder for people with disabilities to get the help they need to contribute to their communities. Read more

Wisconsin Spending Needs Far Exceed the New Revenue Projections

Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 8:19 PM by

State Faces Gap of More than $2.4 Billion between Now and June 2017 

State officials confirmed today what we have feared for many months – that Wisconsin’s spending needs in the next biennium far exceed the projected revenue, and the state must also close a very substantial budget hole in the current fiscal year.  As a result, lawmakers are likely to make cuts that have harmful consequences for Wisconsin children and families and for the investments needed to keep Wisconsin economically competitive. 

Despite the assurances of Walker administration officials over the last couple of months that the state is in strong fiscal shape, the figures contained in a report released by the Department of Administration (DOA) today confirm that balancing the state budget in 2015-17 will require very deep spending cuts or significant tax increases. Specifically, the DOA document reveals the following:

  • Tax revenue for the current fiscal year is now expected to be $82 million below the amount estimated in May (on top of a $281 million tax shortfall in the first half of the biennium), and net appropriations are estimated to be $43 million less.
Read more

Proposed EITC Funding Shift Reveals another Budget Hole

Friday, October 10, 2014 at 4:50 PM by

TANF Funding Squeeze Creates a Substantial Budget Challenge 

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) budget proposes a very large cut in the portion of funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit that comes from the federal welfare reform block grant, which is known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Specifically, the department’s 2015-17 budget proposes cutting $55.8 million from the TANF funding that gets transferred to the Department of Revenue, which would mean that state General Purpose Revenue (GPR) has to fill the very substantial gap. 

Assuming the Walker Administration isn’t planning to cut the EITC, I applaud DCF for wanting to use state funds rather than TANF funds to finance that credit for low-income working families. Unfortunately, the Department of Revenue (DOR) budget proposal doesn’t currently include an increased GPR appropriation for the EITC. Taking both agency proposals together, we have a $55.8 million hole that needs to be filled by state policymakers, and that problem is on top of the other structural budget challenges that have gotten more media attention.   Read more

Wisconsin’s Slow Economic Recovery Leaves Many Behind

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM by
Wisconsin's gradual economic recovery still hasn't substantially expanded economic opportunity for working people and families. Median incomes are still well below their pre-recession level, and our state’s elevated poverty levels have yet to begin declining.
Categories: Blog, economy, EITC, poverty | Comments Off on Wisconsin’s Slow Economic Recovery Leaves Many Behind