EITC Funders Network eNewsletter
Issue 41 | December 2018
A Note from the Coordinator
Dear EITC Funders Network,

Last month, voters returned to the polls in record numbers, and while the outlook was mixed for progressive economic policies, we were heartened, among other wins, to see voters in multiple states approve Medicaid expansions, restore voting rights, and approve minimum wage increases.  

The outcomes for state and local tax policies, unfortunately, trended toward new regressive tax laws. North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona approved a state income tax cap, a supermajority requirement on tax increases, and a ban on taxes on services, respectively; Colorado voters rejected an effort to raise corporate taxes and implement a progressive income tax to increase public education funding; yet, San Francisco voters approved a corporate tax increase to raise money to combat homelessness. We’ll be keeping our eye on the impacts of these policy losses and wins and on the important and momentous work ahead. 

Please also remember that there is only one week left before the December 10th deadline to submit a public comment on the proposed changes to the “public charge” rule that would put millions of immigrant families at risk of hunger, homelessness, poverty, and other hardships. Tax credits, which were named in previous drafts of the rule, are no longer part of the list of benefits considered under the proposed rule; however, the potential impacts of the rule remain devastating. We urge you to take a look at our sister affinity group Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees’ (GCIR’s) statement on why philanthropy must take action against the "public charge" proposal as well as GCIR’s list of ways funders can take action


Ami Nagle
EITC Funders Network
Interview with a Funder
Ria Pugeda
Senior Program Officer
Consumer Health Foundation

Are you currently supporting EITC-related and free tax preparation initiatives? How are you thinking about this work and what does it look like?

The Consumer Health Foundation (CHF) supports organizations that are advocating on budget and fiscal policies and expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit. CHF supports the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis in Virginia, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute in the District of Columbia, and the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. Other grantees work indirectly on these same issues. For example, groups working on food security provide information on anti-hunger programs as part of the outreach in sites where free tax preparation assistance is provided.

We believe that we cannot address health inequities unless we address economic justice issues and racial inequities. We focus on policies that impact low-income communities of color, and this includes the EITC and other budget and fiscal policies.

What topic or issue would you be interested to talk with your funder-colleagues about?

The Consumer Health Foundation has been doing this work for many years, and we are constantly evolving and learning. This work is a process. We would be interested in exchanging information with other foundations about CHF’s and their learning journeys in understanding and operationalizing racial equity.

Research News & News from the Field
Equity and the Role of State Tax Policies
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has released a new report focusing on ways state budget and tax policies can help undo the harmful legacies of racism and ongoing racial bias and discrimination. The report’s recommendations point to ways to adequately fund public services and strengthen progressive tax policies, including enacting and expanding tax credits for low-income families. 

Access the full report here: Advancing Racial Equity with State Tax Policy (CBPP, November 2018)
Erica Williams, Senior Director of State Policy Initiatives at CBPP and co-author of the report, spoke to us in September about state tax credits as a tool to advance racial equity. Click on the image to the left to access this video.

Find more of our short video interviews on equity and tax code here: Equity and the Tax Code 
Findings from Paycheck Plus in New York
Paycheck Plus, a demonstration project of a more generous tax credit for workers without dependent children, is being evaluated in New York City and Atlanta. A new report from MDRC shares the findings from three years of the program's implementation in New York City. Main findings include the increase of after-bonus earnings for participants as well as an increase in tax filing rates and the use of VITA sites.  

Access the full report here: Boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit for Singles (MDRC, September 2018) 
How would the “Public Charge” Rules Impact Your State?
Under the proposed public charge rule, immigrants seeking admission to the U.S. or applying for lawful permanent residency could be denied if family members, including U.S. citizen children, receive public benefits for which they are eligible. If finalized, the rule would result in declines in immigrant families’ access to basic needs. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has put together fact sheets to demonstrate the potential harmful impact of the rule for select states.

Access the fact sheets here: The Impact of Trump’s “Public Charge” Rule for Select States , CLASP, November 2018.
Navigating Tax Preparation for Rideshare Drivers
Many rideshare drivers are eligible for free tax filing, but may not realize they are self-employed, owe taxes, and should make estimated payments. They may also not know about recordkeeping responsibilities. Just in time for tax season, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Get it Back Campaign and the CASH Campaign of Maryland have put together a "Roadmap to Rideshare Taxes."
Access the resources here: Roadmap to Rideshare Taxes , Get it Back Campaign and CASH Campaign of Maryland.
Insights into Savings at Tax Time
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a report focused on savings at tax time based on the experiences and results of the 71 VITA programs participating in the 2018 Bureau Tax Time Savings cohort. The report provides observations on measuring savings activity, describes programs that encourage savings, and identifies new financial capability efforts in the field.
Read the full report here: Building a Brighter Future by Saving at Tax Time , CFPB, October 2018

**Prosperity Now’s Taxpayer Opportunity Network has also released a new toolkit – Start the Savings Conversation which offers resources to begin the savings conversation during the tax moment. 
Upcoming Network and Partner Events
Creating Impact in the South:
The EITC Policy Development Fund

Thursday, December 6, 2018
11am - 12pm PM EST

Launched in 2016, a unique pooled fund - the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Policy Development Fund - was designed to provide multi-year support to state-based organizations in the South working to lay the groundwork to develop or improve state EITCs. To date, $900,000 has been awarded to five Southern state networks to build capacity in policy development funds. 

This webinar - co-hosted by the Southeastern Council of Foundations, Economic Opportunity Funders (formerly GIST), and the EITC Funders Network - will provide an opportunity to learn about the EITC Policy Development Fund, hear lessons learned from funders and awardees about how their efforts to expand access to state EITCs has transformed their ability to engage new allies in the effort to reduce poverty, and talk together about ways to apply these learnings to other topical areas or efforts in additional Southern states.
Congratulations to our sister affinity group GIST -- now Economic Opportunity Funders (EOF)!

A note from the Coordinators:

...After 26 years, we felt it was time for a fresh take on how we describe who we are, what we stand for, and what we do. With guidance from our Steering Committee, we selected a new name and mission that better reflects our commitment to economic opportunity and equity, support for a strong public sector, and fiscal policies that create a healthy, fair and just economy where opportunity and prosperity are broadly shared. 

Along with a new name, Economic Opportunity Funders also has a new website: www.eofnetwork.org
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