Some Oregon lawmakers want to extend and increase a tax credit for working families.
House Bill 3028 would boost the state's Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent of the federal tax credit, from its current level of 8 percent.
Janet Bauer, a policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, said that would raise the incomes of about 900,000 Oregonians and bring the tax credit in line with other states. She said it lso would help nearly 100,000 Oregon children who live in poverty despite having a working parent.
"We find that children in EITC households are healthier, and the research also shows that they do better in school," she said. "They are more likely to graduate from high school and they are also more likely to go to college."
For families with children younger than age 3, the bill would increase the tax credit to 25 percent. The Oregon EITC sunsets this year.
A recent Oregon Center for Public Policy analysis found that in 2017, more than two-thirds of families living below the poverty line had at least one working parent.
Lawmakers are scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill Wednesday.
Bauer said the EITC was designed as an economic stimulus tool, and that the federal tax-credit program brings in $500 milion to Oregon communities every year.
"The EITC particularly benefits rural communities, and it gives a big economic bang for the buck," she said. "You get more economic activity than you invest in the EITC. That's how effective it is."
Bauer added that it's a critical time to help families in the state. According to her organization's research, the share of families in poverty despite one working parent has increased from 16 percent in 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession to 24 percent in 2017.