GBPI Guest Blog
A proven policy to help working families succeed in Georgia
by Keeva Kase, President & CEO
Buckhead Christian Ministry
Too many Georgians in our community struggle to reach the middle class, even as they strive to climb the economic ladder. When people can’t get ahead despite working hard, the entire economy and community can suffer. For more than 30 years, Buckhead Christian Ministry (BCM) has worked to prevent hunger and homelessness for people facing life-disrupting events such as a job loss, a reduction in work hours or a medical problem. Our ministry helps meet basic needs with emergency assistance while building longer-term success through housing, education and other supportive services. BCM helps individuals and families stabilize their lives and achieve financial independence. We are honored to serve our community through more than 30 churches in metro Atlanta and we also recognize the crucial role of state policy to ensure all families can achieve financial independence.
January 27th, EITC Awareness Day, was a chance to recognize the enormous impact the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has on our community. Created in 1975, the EITC is a federal policy that cuts taxes for workers earning modest wages and provides a wage boost for families moving toward the middle class.
Research has shown the credit helps working families achieve financial self-sufficiency, improves health outcomes (especially for moms and infants), strengthens performance in school, increases graduation rates and yields economic benefits for entire communities. The federal EITC lifted an average of 248,000 Georgians, including 131,000 children, out of poverty each year from 2011-2013. In 2019, about 320 thousand working families will claim this credit across Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
As 29 other states have done, we can build on this success by enacting a Georgia Work Credit, a Georgia version of the federal policy that cuts state taxes for working families. A Georgia Work Credit would cut taxes from the bottom up for 1.1 million working families in Georgia, providing a needed financial boost to 2.6 million Georgians, including 1.2 million children, 770,000 working mothers, 410,000 working fathers, and 80,000 veterans. The work credit would help many of the families we serve keep the lights on or make a delayed car repair. A couple hundred dollars can make a huge difference to families living paycheck to paycheck.
With new leadership in Georgia and a new legislative session, EITC Awareness Day provided a tremendous opportunity for state leaders to consider cutting taxes from the bottom up for hardworking families who are struggling to get ahead. In addition to adding more than $300 million back into Georgia’s local economies, the Georgia Work Credit would build the middle class, help working families make ends meet, lead to healthier lives and improve education for children. At Buckhead Christian Ministry we are blessed to have the opportunity to serve thousands of our neighbors each year. A smart, compassionate policy like the Georgia Work Credit would help those we serve have an opportunity to help themselves and their families.