Guest Commentary: Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit

By A. Washington

As a child my mom suffered from an addiction, so my grandmother raised me. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was 15, so I’ve been on my own since then. I’ve experienced homelessness multiple times, but have always done all I can to work.

I usually earn between $6,000 and $10,000 each year from temporary positions. It has been hard to keep a stable, full-time job without consistent housing.

If I were a couple of years older, I could get about $500 back at tax time through the Earned Income Tax Credit. That may not sound like that much to you, but to me it would be a step towards a better job and more stable housing.

However, I can’t claim this tax credit just because I am 23 years old (not 25, which is the limit) and I don’t have a child. That doesn’t make sense.

Hixson
Del. Sheila E. Hixon

Last year, I had the chance to speak to members of the Maryland House of Delegates about what getting this tax credit would mean to me. If I had received the EITC this year, I would have used that money to enroll in a phlebotomy course that would give me a shot at a career, rather than temporary work.

Unfortunately, the bill did not pass, so I and others in similar situations must continue to wait until we get a little older or our elected officials decide to take action on our behalf.

While I am unable to come speak to legislators again this year, I want to express my appreciation to Sen. Richard S. Madaleno and Del. Sheila E. Hixon for bringing back a bill to expand the EITC so that low-income younger workers who aren’t raising children, like myself, can qualify for this valuable credit on our state taxes.

When members of Congress passed tax reform last year, they weren’t thinking about people like me. I hope that this year the Maryland General Assembly will think of me, and the 355,000 other Marylanders who would benefit from expanding the EITC, and pass Senate Bill 647/House Bill 856.

A. Washington is a resident of northeast Baltimore City who asked not to be identified further.

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