Ellen Nissenbaum: "The EITC and Child Tax Credits are Powerful Anti-Poverty Tools"

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At Rural Assembly Everywhere, Ellen Nissenbaum, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shared an in-depth analysis of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit benefits in rural America, as well as resources for understanding and promoting both tax credits. 

The American Rescue Plan has addressed two of the major gaps in both tax credit programs, however only for the year 2021, Nissenbaum said.

“They made a change that’s really historic, but it’s only for a year,” Nissenbaum said. “And that of course we cannot let stand.”

The American Rescues Plan’s temporary expansions include

* Increasing the EITC for workers without children, raising the maximum credit to roughly $1,500 and the income limit to qualify to about $21,000 and expanded eligibility to workers ages 19-24 and over 64

* Making the full CTC available to all children, expect those with the highest incomes— even parents without earnings. It also increased the maximum credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under 6) 

The expansions are especially important for rural communities, she said. Twenty-one percent of workers without children in rural areas will benefit from the EITC expansion, compared to 17 percent of those in metro areas. Likewise, 94 percent of children in rural areas will benefit from the Child Tax Credit expansion, compared to 89 percent of those in metro areas. 

“So that’s really important for us to be lifting up for policy makers how important these improvements are and how important the credits are for kids and for workers in rural communities,” she said. “But we have a historic moment and it is really a small window of opportunity in front of us to say these one-year improvements must be made permanent.” 


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