November 2, 2017

Tax Reform Should Not Harm Low-Income Families

U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World released today “Tax Policy Is a Hunger Issue,” which outlines four tax policy priorities that can help families struggling with hunger and poverty. The release of the document comes as Congress begins debate on tax reform legislation.

“Tax policy is clearly a hunger issue,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The big changes to tax policy that are being considered will significantly impact Americans who are struggling with hunger and poverty.”

Bread’s priorities for tax reform legislation are: increase equity and fairness in the tax code; maintain and strengthen tax credits for low-income workers; do not finance tax cuts for high-income people by cutting programs that help low-income people; and encourage work and allow new markets to flourish.

The tax code can be changed to benefit low-income families. The child tax credit (CTC) and the earned income tax credit (EITC) combined do more to encourage work and reduce hunger and poverty than any other government program. Increasing eligibility for the CTC and EITC would help move millions more Americans out of hunger and poverty.

The New Market Tax Credit has done more to reduce the number of food deserts than any other program to date, and has created up to 750,000 jobs.

Funding tax cuts by increasing deficit spending will almost certainly lead to cuts in low-income programs, such as SNAP and Medicaid. In fact, the budget resolution proposed $1.5 trillion in deficit spending for the cuts also outlined more than $2 trillion in cuts to low-income programs.

“We urge lawmakers to pass tax policies that expand opportunity for, rather that harm, low-income Americans,” Beckmann said.

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