EITC Funders Network Quarterly eNewsletter
Issue 44 | September 2019
A Note from the Coordinator
Dear EITC Funders Network members,

The momentum around tax credits for working families is growing. A number of federal proposals have been introduced in Congress to expand existing tax credits or to create new ones. The Working Families Tax Relief Act, introduced in the Senate with 46 co-sponsors, would expand the EITC for families with children and substantially increase the small credit currently available for workers not raising children in their homes. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that this proposal could improve the economic well-being of 46 million households.

An increasing number of presidential candidates - including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Pete Buttigieg - are also lifting up and talking about building upon the EITC and CTC. Just this past month, Julian Castro released the “People First Economic Plan for Working Families,” a plan that includes both EITC and CTC expansions.

Meanwhile, in 2019, six states enacted new or expanded versions of their state-level EITCs, with many more states working to push proposals forward. These state expansions build on the federal EITC’s well-established positive impact on poverty reduction as well as on second-generation health and educational outcomes. Tax credits are also a vital part of a larger opportunity to advance racial equity through state tax policy.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on these federal and state policy pushes and the important work ahead.  

Ami Nagle
EITC Funders Network
Interview with a Partner Philanthropic Serving Organization
Kevin Douglas
Director of National Programs
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR)

Over the last years, the EITC Funders Network has partnered with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) on issues at the intersection of tax credit access, immigration status, and racial and ethnic equity. Although the EITC is no longer on the list of benefits and services under the recently issued public charge rule , the actual and potential impact of the rule on low-income immigrant families remains devastating.

We recently spoke with Kevin Douglas, Director of National Programs at GCIR, about the latest developments, how the public charge rule fits into the larger picture of recent government actions, and the ways funders can engage.

Research News & News from the Field
The Federal Tax Code and Racial Equity
Tax provisions and the ways these provisions are enforced and administered are steeped in a context of historical racism and ongoing prejudice and discrimination. In a recently released report, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) outlines the ways the federal tax code impacts racial disparities and explains how the tax-cut law enacted in 2017 exacerbates these disparities. The report also lays out investments - including tax credits - that can work toward advancing racial equity.

Access the full report: How the Federal Tax Code Can Better Advance Racial Equity (CBPP, July 2019)
EITC as a Health Investment in Arkansas
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and Children's HealthWatch recently published a health impact assessment to identify the potential health outcomes of creating a state-level EITC in Arkansas. The report states that a refundable EITC "may be one of the most effective ways to address the poor health outcomes experiences by Arkansans." The authors recommend a state credit at 15 percent of the federal credit, which equates to approximately $392 per household, to maximize potential health benefits to Arkansans with a modest cost to the state.

Read more here:   Creating a State-Level Refundable Earned Income Tax Credit in Arkansas (Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families and Children's Health Watch, July 2019)
EITC Expansion Linked to Improved Housing Outcomes
A recent study took a closer look at the EITC’s impact on housing outcomes (eviction, homelessness, and affordability) as well as living arrangements (number of people in the household and crowding) of low-incomes families. The researchers found that a $1,000 increase in the tax credit can impact housing affordability by reducing housing cost burdens; decreasing incidents of “doubling up,” or living with additional, non-family members; and reducing household crowding.

Access the full report: The Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Housing and Living Arrangements ( Katherine Michelmore and Natasha Pilkauskas, August 2019)
Participate in Filer Voter 2020
In our last quarterly newsletter, we wrote about the Filer Voter Experiment, an experiment during the past filing season to evaluate the effectiveness of conducting voter registration drives at VITA sites. Vanessa Williamson, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Jackson Gode, Senior Research Assistant at the Brookings Institution authored Prosperity Now’s Taxpayer Opportunity Network most recent “Tax Prep Dispatch” putting out a call to participate in the next phase, Filer Voter 2020:
...In 2018, our voter registration program reached almost 5,000 VITA clients. For filing season 2020, we are hoping to dramatically increase the scale of the program to reach 50,000 VITA clients. For participating VITA sites, there will be free training and support as well as financial stipends
available to support site coordinators or intake specialists who lead the program at their sites.

If your site already conducts voter registration or is interested in learning more about setting up a voter registration drive for 2020, please reach out to us at  filervoter@brookings.edu  with the following information:

  • Organization Name
  • City
  • Number of returns filed last year
Read more here: T ax Prep Dispatch: Voter Registration at Tax Time (Prosperity Now, September 2019) and   The Filer Voter experiment: How effective is voter registration at tax time? (Brookings, April 2019)
Upcoming Philanthropic Serving Organization Events
A Threat to Health and Wellbeing:
Public Charge's Expected Impact and How Philanthropy Can Respond
Thursday, September 26th at 10am PT

In August, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security filed and officially published its “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule. Unless blocked by litigation, the rule will go into effect on October 15. The new rule will dramatically impact the health and stability of immigrants of all statuses who may withdraw from or avoid nutrition, health care, and housing assistance programs out of fear, and radically reshape how the country admits future immigrants. 

On this webinar, funders will learn about responses to date to the final ‘public charge’ rule, ranging from local-level community education to state-level coordinated campaigns, to national litigation efforts. Gaps in field capacity and opportunities for philanthropic support to protect families and advance belonging will be explored in both a rapid response and long-term context. Speakers will also cover the second rule that is expected soon that will dramatically expand the “public charge” grounds under which the Department of Justice determines who should be deported.

Racial Capitalism, Power, and Resistance
October 17-18 in Brooklyn, NY

Join Funders for a Just Economy (FJE), grantmakers, and partners from across the US for a strategy conversation discussing racial capitalism, power, and power-building. Hear from leading academics and strategists about the various resistance movements currently tackling the concentration of wealth and power within corporations and building countervailing worker and community power. During the event, FJE will build upon our understanding of how slavery, genocide, and patriarchy has shaped-and continues to shape-our economy, while also sharing program strategies and grant-making principles from network funders and donors who are resourcing movements to shift power.

EOF Fall Meeting
November 5-6, 2019 in New York, NY 
Registration opening soon!  

Join EOF this Fall at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York to explore the transformation of work, workers and social supports with an equity lens.  

EOF Budget and Tax Briefing 
March 5-6, 2020 in Washington, DC    

EOF has been engaging funders in budget and tax policy for more than 15 years! Join us to learn about pressing political developments, federal and state budget and tax issues, and emerging advocacy, organizing and communications strategies to support struggling families, workers and communities.

Did you know? EITC Pooled Fund Helps Protect, Expand, and Create State EITCs
Together with the Economic Opportunity Funders (formerly known as GIST), the EITC Funders Network administers and oversees the EITC Rapid Response, Campaign and Policy Development Funds (collectively known as the EITC Pooled Fund). To date, $2,658,500 has been awarded to 29 state networks: $1,228,500 in rapid response funds, $380,000 in campaign funds and $1,050,000 in policy development funds. Want to know more? Click here to learn more about the EITC Pooled Fund.

New and Noteworthy: EITC Policy Development Fund Continues Investments in Arkansas and Virginia

In August 2019, Arkansas and Virginia received a third year of policy development funding to continue efforts to build support for a refundable state EITC. Established in 2015, the EITC Policy Development Fund was developed to provide multi-year support to state-based policy groups laying the groundwork to develop or improve state EITCs. To date, $1,050,000 has been awarded to five state networks in policy development funds. 
About the EITC Funders Network
The EITC Funders Network brings together funders interested in the Earned Income Tax Credit, free- and low-cost tax preparation, and asset building. The Network seeks to increase awareness of EITC-related projects, foster collaboration, share information about the current status of EITC-related work, and help shape the future of the field. 

The EITC Funders Network is generously funded by: 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Piton Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation