The yearly budget cycle kicks off this week with the Governor’s proposal for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget. In preparation, MassBudget published a series of briefs that highlight some major stories to watch in the FY 2021 debate. This is a summary of four key stories highlighted in our series.
Credit Where Credit is Due: The EITC and CTC – two proven tools to keep low-paid workers out of poverty
One of the most successful ways to lift people out of poverty is through tax credits targeted to low- and moderate-income families. Families use these credits to reduce their income taxes or receive a refund check. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are two widely successful tax credit programs for improving family economic security and well-being â€” combined, the credits lift more people out of poverty than any other federal program except Social Security. Nonetheless, there are opportunities to make these programs even better.
Having health insurance helps people afford necessary medical care, which helps them live healthier lives. Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in making sure all its residents have health insurance, but progress has stalled.
Further, some communities of color continue to encounter obstacles to getting health insurance and still see higher levels of uninsurance compared with the state overall.
Many Massachusetts workers are unable to save enough money for themselves to retire on. This is partly because setting up and managing retirement plans is often too expensive for small and employers. In late 2017, Massachusetts launched a state-administered 401(k) plan that can begin to address some of these challenges. Small nonprofits, with 20 employees or fewer, can participate in the plan.
The opportunity to live a healthy life begins long before a person shows up at the doctor’s office or hospital; health begins where people live, learn, work, and play. There is growing recognition that greater attention to the social determinants of health – things like having stable housing, safe, walkable neighborhoods with accessible transportation, grocery stores with affordable, nutritious options, schools that are equipped to provide high-quality education, and incomes that enable families to make ends meet – is critical to making meaningful improvements to health. This paper briefly examines the health impact of one program that provides economic support for low-income working families: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).