Cash Tax Credits are an income floor for families and workers.
We're campaigning to popularize the CTC and EITC, to expand the eligibility of these programs, and to make these payments monthly.
We believe in an economy where everyone has the resources they need to provide for themselves and their families, and the agency to address their own particular circumstances. Refundable tax credits that provide unrestricted cash are one of the most effective – yet simple – tools for giving people both stability and freedom. Unrestricted cash through tax credits means the ability to pay the bills, put food on the table, pay off past debt or build for the future. In short, cash gives people the means and the power to shape their own lives.
The past two years have demonstrated the incredible power of direct cash. Between stimulus relief checks and expansions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, we have seen intractable problems of poverty and food insecurity – initially made worse by the pandemic and the uneven economic recovery – improve dramatically because of cash sent directly to nearly all Americans. Among these interventions, the expanded Child Tax Credit – passed as part of the American Rescue Plan – was the powerhouse, providing for the first time ever, a generous, fully refundable credit, paid out monthly and in advance to nearly all families with children in America. And it was a game-changer: in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, the Child Tax Credit defied gravity and actually reduced child poverty.
Unfortunately, the expanded CTC expired at the end of 2021, and we immediately saw many of the gains disappear overnight. While the public overwhelmingly supports the expanded CTC, many policymakers are stuck on the notion that people no longer need the support because the worst of the pandemic seems to have passed. Sadly, the old versions of these important tax credits, which we’ve reverted to, double down on an outdated narrative of who is “deserving” of economic support, withholding credits from the lowest-income households to penalize them for earning low wages, and from unpaid caregivers of young children and of family members with disabilities, who may weave in and out of the formal economy but whose role is critical in every family and community.What We Do
We are organizing a movement behind the power of cash through tax credits. We bring together allies all over the country to join the fight for cash benefits for families. We build and amplify the support of key constituencies, including parents, racial justice organizations, anti-poverty advocates, labor unions, and small business groups, to demonstrate the diverse and widespread fervor for cash. We harness cutting-edge research and data to deliver the right information to the right audience at key moments. We are nimble, taking advantage of opportunities to highlight the power of cash to solve a host of problems, from the rising cost of living to inflation, to entrenched disparities. And we’re in the halls of Congress, making the case for cash tax credits with compelling data and polling that shows the popularity of these tax credits.
Our purpose is clear: recoup the gains of the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, and secure direct cash through tax credits that are generous, fully refundable, and paid monthly in advance so that we can build economic power for all Americans.Impact
The 2021 expansion of the Child Tax Credit was a milestone of Economic Security Project’s work. We helped Congressional champions and the Biden administration craft the details of the program and communicate about it to the public. And it was a dramatic success, providing families not only with a monthly income floor, but a foundation from which millions of kids and adults were able to lift themselves out of poverty and food insecurity. The campaign to provide fully refundable, generous, advance tax credits every month resulted in the largest drop in child poverty on record.
In 2020, ESP led the charge for direct, recurring relief checks until the economy recovers through our Emergency Money for the People campaign. When the pandemic was at its worst, the stimulus checks kept families afloat and proved to be the most powerful intervention most families experienced, keeping the heat on and food on the table, while many were unable to safely go to work.
Prior to the COVID public health and economic crisis, our model EITC policy was incorporated into two historic pieces of federal legislation: then-Senator Kamala Harris’s LIFT the Middle Class Act, and Representative Rashida Tlaib’s BOOST Act, both of which adopted our model policy to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to effectively create an income floor, or guaranteed income, for more than half of all Americans. These proposals marked the first time Congress had seriously considered a guaranteed income in 50 years.People
Senior Director of Campaigns
Deputy Campaigns Director