EITC Funders Network eNewsletter
Issue 36 I September 2017 
A Note From the Coordinator
Dear EITC Funders Network,

Last week, in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and with Hurricane Irma's path of destruction still on the horizon, President Trump called for a "speed up" of tax legislationWhile there are still many unknowns about the proposed tax plan, one consistency over time has been the rhetoric around the benefits of the plan for the middle and working class.  However, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorites' Chye-Ching Huang points out in a recent post , the current plan prioritizes the wealthiest households and could actually hurt low- and middle-class households.  Citing a recent Tax Policy Center report , which tackles the thorny and important question of who will ultimately pay for the proposed cuts, several scenarios lead to the majority of households - and especially low- and middle-class- households  - being worse off.
 
There are a dizzying number of federal policy issues to monitor from the standpoint of funders committed to ensuring the promise of financial stability and economic opportunity for all. Being sure to keep our eye on important themes, including how the tax code protects low- and moderate-income families and promotes economic security, will be an important role for philanthropy. 

Sincerely,

Ami Nagle, Coordinator
EITC Funders Network
919-493-4393
ami@eitcfunders.org

Inside This Issue
    • Joseph Sanberg and Josh Fryday of the Golden State Opportunity Foundation
    • 2017 State-Level EITC Roundup
    • Detroit Invests in EITC Outreach Efforts
    • Free Tax Prep and Help with Benefit Access While You Wait
    • Keeping An Eye on Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL's)
    • Save the Date: Leading from the South: A Funder-to-Funder Conversation, December 5 in New Orleans, LA
InterviewwithaFunderInterview with a Funder
Joseph Sanberg, Founder and Josh Fryday, President

Golden State Opportunity Foundation


In 2015, California became 
the 26
and in 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into a law a major expansion of the state credit.  The Golden State Opportunity Foundation has been at the forefront of California's EITC advocacy and outreach efforts and currently leads a public-private partnership to ensure that every Californian knows about the credit and all who are eligible can claim it. We sat down recently with Joseph Sanberg, Founder, and Josh Fryday, President of the Golden State Opportunity Foundation to learn more about its statewide outreach campaign: CalEITC4Me.

fieldnewsNews from the Field / Research News
EITC POLICY
2017 State-Level EITC Roundup
 
Image Credit: www.eitcoutreach.org
This past year has been a banner year in state level EITC policy. In May, South Carolina and Montana became the 27th and 28th states to pass state EITCs (notably, South Carolina's non-refundable credit is worth 125% of the federal credit).  Hawaii followed suit in July to become the 29th state with a non-refundable credit worth 20 percent of the federal EITC.  Two years after enacting its own state EITC, California passed expansion legislation, increasing the eligibility income limit and including self-employed workers. Illinois expanded its existing credit from 10 percent to 18 percent of the federal credit. Oregon now requires every state W-2 to include information about the EITC. Minnesota reduced the age requirement for taxpayers without children and Massachusetts included an unprecedented provision in its 2018 budget to expand EITC access to survivors of domestic violence.  

OUTREACH & FREE TAX PREP:
Detroit Invests in EITC Outreach Efforts

Public-private sector collaborations on EITC outreach can take a variety of forms on both the state and local level. As our quarterly Interview with a Funder highlights, California's outreach efforts are led  - in collaboration with a broad coalition and with the state - by private philanthropy via the Golden State Opportunity Foundation. A Tax Credits for Working Families post recently highlighted another example - a municipal public-private effort in Detroit launched last year by Mayor Mike Duggan. Together with nonprofit partners, including the United Way, as well consulting help from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the city invested in a public awareness campaign and expansion of free tax-preparation sites. The campaign resulted in approximately 18,000 more Detroiters filing for the EITC this last tax season than the year before.

 
BENEFITS ACCESS:
Free Tax Prep and Help with Benefit Access While You Wait
 
Image Credit: www.mystreetcred.org
StreetCred, a Boston-based nonprofit, is partnering with VITA and government agencies to help families file taxes, claim tax credits, and apply for other safety net programs while they sit in their pediatrician's waiting room. A recent PBS NewsHour column featured the project, which was started by doctors at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center, to take advantage of waiting room time and bring services to families in a trusted, frequently visited location. In addition to increasing accessibility to the EITC and other anti-poverty government programs, the project illuminates the importance of the health-wealth connection. A body of research has already examined the potential positive health outcomes resulting from EITC benefits and recent findings from a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) add to the growing  discussion by finding that key infant health outcomes showed improvements in states with a state credit.
 
FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT:
Keeping an Eye on Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs)

Last tax season, tax refunds that included an EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) were held until February 15 th  pursuant to the  2015 PATH Act . As VITA sites gear up for the 2017 tax season, the realities of the refund delay have become the new normal. The Consumer Federation of American and the National Consumer Law Center's Spring report  -  Big Changes Burden Taxpayers  - takes a closer look at what initial data can tell us about the PATH Act's impact. For instance, in addition to a significant drop in the number of refunds made early in the tax season, the report authors note an increase in a new variant of refund anticipation loans (RALs). While the loans did not impose direct charges on taxpayers, the report authors warn that a potential cost shift must be monitored. 
 
EITC Funders Network Events affinitygroup
Save the Date!
Leading from the South:  Funders Come Together to Identify & Share Proven Strategies that Increase Economic Opportunities
December 5, 2017
New Orleans, LA
 
Join your peers on December 5 in New Orleans to learn and share philanthropic strategies for increasing economic opportunity in the South.  Funders and practitioners working in the South face challenges of stark inequities, but promising and powerful examples of strategies that build opportunity from an equity framework exist.
 
EITC Funders Network and
Arkansas Asset Funders Network are hosting a "Funder-to-Funder Conversation" on the latest programs, policies, and philanthropic strategies that increase economic security and build assets for people living in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
 
This timely gathering for regional and national funders will showcase replicable best practices/promising funding strategies and offer interactive engagement for grantmakers to identify common interests, explore co-investment opportunities, and foster the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.  

 
Stay tuned for more details on the agenda and how to register for this unique convening!

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 W.K. Kellogg Foundation

www.eitcfunders.org