Linda Frame: Letting Tax Credits Expire Will Hurt Our Veterans

Huntington Herald-Dispatch - While the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country with family and friends, it's also a day to honor the heroes who have defended our freedom by serving in our military. Read

One way to honor service members, veterans and their families this year is to ask Congress to save key provisions of pro-work tax credits that help veteran and military families make ends meet.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) make an important difference in the lives of millions of working families across the country, including many service members, veterans and their families. In West Virginia, 15,000 veteran and military families are benefitting from the EITC, the refundable CTC or both.

Together, the EITC and CTC boost incomes, help these working families make ends meet, and, in particular, help veterans who often encounter barriers putting their valuable skills to work when they return home.

Pro-work tax credits help those veterans right here in West Virginia by boosting income and allowing them to pay for things that enable them to get ahead, like child care, transportation and housing. And research indicates that the extra income from these credits helps children in families that receive them grow up healthier, do better and go further in school, and work and earn more as adults.

We can all agree that no one who has served America in the military should live in poverty when they come home. The EITC and CTC are a critical piece of this commitment, lifting roughly 100,000 veteran and military families out of poverty in 2013.

However, unless Congress acts, key provisions of these pro-work tax credits will expire at the end of 2017. In West Virginia, 9,000 of veteran and military families would lose some or all of these two tax credits.

For example, a single veteran with two children who works full time at the minimum wage - earning $14,500 - would lose his entire CTC of $1,725.

Instead of letting it come down to the wire for these families and others, Congress should seize the chance this year to make permanent the expiring pieces of the EITC and CTC.

Right now, Congress is considering billions of dollars in tax breaks for large corporations. During this debate, Congress must be fair to veterans, and all working families, by saving key provisions of the EITC and CTC that help them work and support their families.

Congress can also close a glaring gap that leaves childless workers (those who are not claiming kids as dependents on their taxes) with little or no EITC. Closing this gap would help 500,000 service members and veterans nationwide - and it's no surprise that this proposal has strong bipartisan support, from President Obama to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Our service members and veterans have made incredible sacrifices to help keep us safe. It's our duty to make sure they can provide for their families, and pro-work tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit do just that.

This Fourth of July, let's stand up for our service members, veterans and their families by making sure they continue to receive these vital pro-work tax credits.


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