- September 20, 2016
- Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
- Wesley Tharpe
Georgia is missing out on a time-tested tool that helps hardworking families, boosts small businesses and strengthens local economies. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia give a critical boost to families that work but struggle to make ends meet through a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For full details on the case for enacting a state EITC in Georgia, see A Bottom-Up Tax Cut to Build Georgia’s Middle Class.
Enacting a state EITC, or Georgia Work Credit, would be an ambitious investment in more than 1 million families striving to break the cycle of poverty and ascend the economic ladder. As with any other public investment, it carries a cost in lost state revenue. That cost depends on two factors. First, the size of Georgia’s state match. Most state EITCs are set at a percentage of the federal credit, ranging from a low of 3.5 percent in Louisiana to a high of 40 percent in Washington, D.C. Second, lawmakers can choose whether a Georgia EITC is refundable or non-refundable. In all but three states with an EITC, lawmakers chose the refundable option to let working families keep the full value of the credit even if it exceeds their state income taxes.