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Yarmuth Unveils Tax Cut for 7.5 Million Workers

Yarmuth's Legislation will Prevent 250,000 Americans from being Taxed into Poverty

 (Louisville, KY) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced legislation that will increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for single, childless workers earning less the than $16,400/year.

Raoul Cunningham, President of the Louisville NAACP hailed the legislation, saying, “In contrast to the Bush Administration, this proposal gives a tax break to those who are most in need- not the wealthiest, and we commend Congressman Yarmuth for its introduction.”

Added Terry Brooks, Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, “This legislation reveals a Congressman who is transcending politics and active on evidence.   That evidence is clear. An expanded EITC is the best anti-poverty strategy in the last three decades.   It supports individual low-income workers while strengthening the general economy.   Congressman Yarmuth's legislation is the smart thing to do.   Moreover, it is the right thing to do.”

In addition to lifting 250,000 workers out of poverty, the legislation will cut taxes for 7.5 million American workers by as much as 41 percent.

The text of Yarmuth's prepared remarks is below. 

      The last six years, even as the government has slashed taxes for the very wealthy, millions of others have struggled paycheck to paycheck, failing to see income trickle down from the ever increasing wealth above.     

      While the government has offered credits to married couples and parents, single, low-income workers without children have been virtually abandoned by their leaders.   Because they are eligible for virtually no tax relief or assistance, they are saddled with a disproportionate tax burden, causing single adults of working age to make up nearly one-third of all Americans classified as poor.     

      In a nation built on the premise that we could create better lives for ourselves if we just worked hard enough, we are taxing Americans into a place where the tools to get ahead must be neglected so that bills can be paid, higher education must be sacrificed in order to buy food, and the dream of adequately raising a family is abandoned to pay rent.   Despite all the talk of healthcare being a luxury in this country, it is not so for these hard working Americans; it's an impossibility.     

      That is why next week I will offer legislation to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in both size and scope, lifting a quarter of million workers out of poverty to give millions of our fellow citizens hope for more than merely a day-to-day subsistence.        

      I believe that in America we should be rewarding the hard work of these citizens, struggling to make ends meet; not taxing them into poverty.   But that is exactly what we are doing to hundreds of thousands of Americans.       

      [referring to chart below]   Currently, a worker earning $11,350 a year is taxed at a rate of more than 12 percent, pushing wages below the poverty line.   But my legislation will double her Earned Income Tax Credit, and cut her taxes by 41 percent, keeping her out of poverty.   To a low wage worker, that additional $600 for could mean two to three months rent, 6 months of groceries, or nearly a year's worth of TARC transportation to and from work.   More importantly, it can help liberate the worker to reset her sights on living out the American dream.     

      I am proud to say that by expanding the EITC for all eligible workers earning less than $16,400, not only will this legislation instantly lift these workers out of poverty, it will dramatically lower the taxes of more than seven million Americans, 100,000 Kentuckians, and more than 20,000 hard working people right here in Louisville.     

      Any economist will tell you, more money in workers' pockets increases buying power and benefits the economy.   Here, unlike the failed supply side model, we will not hope for trickle down from the wealthy.   We will help those struggling at the bottom and, by upgrading their economic status, create a springboard effect that enhances the economy as a whole.

      To the seven million Americans who will see their post-tax income rise, this legislation provides a necessary boost as they work to build careers, start families, and improve their lives.   It rewards work rather than wealth and represents the priorities to change the direction of our country and right her course.