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Senator Brown Calls For Expanded Low-Income Tax Credits

Sherrod Brown

Ohio’s Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is grinding the ax of tax reform in advance of Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Brown wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) under a proposal he’s calling the “Working Families Tax Relief Act.”

The EITC was put in place in 1975 and expanded in the 80s and 90s, and multiple studiesshow it works well to alleviate poverty. Basically, it gives money back to workers whose incomes put them below the poverty line after taxes. People with children are eligible for the biggest refunds. Sherrod Brown wants to expand the tax credit to give more to workers without kids, and expand eligibility for the credit. He says his proposal would affect over 600,000 Ohioans.

“In this economy when the one percent do better and better, how do we cut corporate taxes but not do anything for people who simply want a chance to get ahead?” Sen. Brown said Tuesday.

Agreement on the details might be hard to find, however: Republicans in the House of Representatives have called for cuts to corporate tax rates and across-the-board cuts for individuals. And President Obama tonight is expected to push for closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, higher capital gains taxes, and a $500 credit for families with two working parents.

Republicans, who now control the House and the Senate, have criticized the president’s proposal as “not serious.”

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.