Patty Murray Proposes Bill To Expand Tax Break For Childless Workers

March 26, 2014 6:21 p.m.

Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation Wednesday to expand the earned income tax credit (EITC) for workers without children.

The bill would expand the income eligibility range for childless workers to 133 percent of full-time earnings at the existing minimum wage, and lower the eligibility age 25 to 21. It would also enhance the credit for dual-earner families by permitting a 20 percent deduction on one earner’s income. Murray’s office projects that the legislation would raise the maximum EITC for childless workers from about $500 in 2013 to roughly $1,400 in 2015.

“Workers without dependent children, and young workers just starting out, are being left behind under the current EITC,” Murray said.

Called the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, the legislation would costs $144.9 billion over a decade, and is funded by closing corporate tax loopholes, which most Republicans say they have no interest in doing. Benefits under the existing EITC are dramatically skewed toward workers with children.

The bill comes in response to a proposal by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to expand the EITC, and a separate tax reform plan by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). In the House, Ways & Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) recently released a comprehensive tax reform blueprint. President Barack Obama has also offered a proposal to expand the EITC for childless workers.

“The EITC piece of Murray’s bill is a bit more expansive than the President’s, but the same general idea,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide. “But she also has the dual earner deduction piece, which wasn’t in the President’s budget, and this is actually the first time this worker tax cut policy is being introduced.”

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

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