By Stephanie Román, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR
The numbers tell a clear story about the importance of tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in Florida: in 2013, more than 3.5 million households received the EITC or the CTC.
These tax credits keep 600,000 Floridians, including 311,000 children, out of poverty. They are also good for the economy—in 2012 the EITC added $5.1 billion to Florida’s economy.
Yet the numbers alone don’t capture the richer, more personal stories of those low-income working families who benefit from these credits. One such story comes from Yubely Cinero of Miami.
Yubely is a single mother, working two jobs to provide the best life she can to her eight-year-old daughter.
She is just barely getting by.
Yubely’s two jobs—as a housekeeper and as a child care provider—are exhausting work, yet the hardest thing for her is not having time to spend with her daughter.
“As a single mother who has to work so much because the pay is so low, the worst thing is not being able to give my daughter the quality of life I would like to; I can’t spend time with her because I have to work,” said Yubely.
For Yubely and so many others, saving is nearly impossible when trying to raise a child on a minimum-wage salary as a single mother.
“I live day-to-day here; there is no way to save. Without this money, there is no way to buy school supplies and uniforms for my daughter,” said Yubely.
She has come to depend on her CTC refund as the source of extra cash that helps her buy clothes for her daughter, make rent, and if there’s a little extra left, to take her daughter to a museum. If Congress decides to turn its back on working families and fails to make permanent the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC, millions of families like Yubely’s will lose one of their few opportunities to save and make much-needed purchases.
It doesn’t take much to see the huge impact these tax credits make in the lives of hardworking Americans like Yubely. Congressional inaction would also mean that more than half a million of Florida’s kids would be pushed into poverty.
For Yubely, and others in her position, this just doesn’t make sense.
“It sincerely doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t do something to save these credits,” said Yubely. “The problem with this is that poverty will increase—the poor will get poorer and the rich will get richer. For them it’s nothing, but for us, it’s a lot.”
Yubely is right. These tax credits make a difference in the lives of millions and we have to make sure Congress does the right thing for hardworking families—like Yubely and her daughter—who are struggling to get by.
The Mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado, is another person who believes in the importance of the CTC and EITC. He spoke honestly about how he’s seen the tax credits work in Miami. To him as to many others, the question about whether or not Congress should act is clear: “saving the credits is the right thing to do.”
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