( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
The economy is showing signs of recovery, the unemployment rate is stabilizing and consumer confidence is rising. But we all know that the past decade has been particularly tough on working families as wages stagnated but prices of necessities like transportation, education and child care have continued to increase.
It has become tougher and tougher, in the last 10 years, to meet basic needs and provide for a family.
But there is some good news coming from the Colorado Legislature. On Wednesday, the Colorado Senate introduced the Working Families Economic Opportunity Act, a bill that uses tax credits to make it a little easier for working families to make ends meet.
Targeted to families that work but are still struggling because they have low-paying jobs, these tax credits will make a real difference in the budgets of Colorado’s working families.
In addition to helping families make ends meet, they provide low-income workers with a needed income boost that can help them pay for the very things that allow them to work, like child care and transportation.
The working family tax credits are proven to make a difference in people’s lives by increasing employment, school performance and long-term health. Beyond that, increasing resources in low income families when children are young has a profound effect on the earning potential for those kids later in life. One study found a 17% increase in lifetime earnings.
And the tax credits in this bill are smart investments. Because they are state versions of federal credits with a proven track record, we can leverage their effectiveness with little additional work.
This common sense approach utilizes an efficient and proven strategy that doesn’t require complicated eligibility determinations but uses current federal and state tax code provisions to get resources to working families to help with regular household necessities and keep people working.
The bill is good for businesses too. It will put money into the local economy as working families use the money to buy groceries, pay rent or childcare, and afford other basic household necessities. People are raising questions about whether we can afford this investment in our working families. Considering the economic fallout of the last 10 years, the question we should be asking is whether we can afford our future if we fail to support the our families today. These dollars recycle in our communities, they help workers stay employed and they complement federal investment to maximize the impact in families.
We all have a commitment to using tax dollars wisely, and these tax investments in working families will pay long term dividends. It’s an economic agenda that is proven to build economic opportunity and stronger communities.