Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrating the Good Provisions in the Recently Approved Tax Bill

Regardless of what you think of the compromise tax legislation that Congress approved last week, we want to take the "glass is half full" approach.

There were some legitimate objections to giving tax credits to folks who don't need them, especially when the there so much talk about budget deficits.

Conversely, there are some very good things in the bill that provide tax relief to low-income families, who really do need the breaks. 

That's why Bread members in New Mexico and elsewhere celebrate the passage of this legislation, which maintains the Earned Income Tax (EITC) and Child Tax Credits (CTC).

Here's what Bread for the World President David Beckmann says about the passage of the bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law last Friday (Dec. 17).
People of faith may not agree with all of the provisions of the bill, but these low-income tax credits are a huge victory for working families.  The EITC and CTC, along with the payroll tax deduction, will prevent 2.4 million people, including 1.2 million children, from falling into poverty.”
          Read full statement from Bread for the World.

It's called The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  Remember that title when you tell your friends about it at the next church supper.  (Okay, you don't have to remember the title!)

But we can't help but think that our letters and the calls to Congress on the week of the congressional votes had something to do with keeping tax credits for low-income families as part of the equation.

It's fair to point out that our New Mexico legislators were caught in the tax dilemma. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan voted against HR4853, not because they oppose the tax credits for the poor.  Far from it.  In the end, their strong opposition to extending tax breaks for the wealthy, implemented under former President George W. Bush, won out.  Rep. Harry Teague voted for HR4853.  Click here to see how all House members voted.

In an earlier vote in the Senate, the measure to extend the tax credits (S.Amdt. 4753) was approved by a vote of 81-19, with both Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall voting nay (again, for the same reasons as Reps. Heinrich and Lujan).  Click here to see how all Senate members voted.

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