A bad deal for working poor
Robbing the earned income tax credit to pay for child-care subsidies (“Child-care plan both aids, hurts Vt.’s poor,” Jan. 13) is a terrific holdover of the Republican mentality from the Douglas years — “terrific” in the sense of “terrifying” and “holdover,” as in the Jim Douglas mantra “revenue neutral.”
As a single parent, the $380 earned income credit I received back in 1981 represented more than half a month’s take-home pay, and about 7 percent of my annual income. According to the 2011 federal income tax figures, the earned income credit represents from 4.3 percent to almost 15 percent of a family’s income.
Now, for the top 2.1 percent of Vermonters, the $17 million that the poorest working Vermonters are sacrificing would amount to a tax increase of 0.59 percent on their income. Six-tenths of a percent for them would be the equivalent of working 12 hours a year. For the 70,000 Vermont households losing two-thirds of the EIC, it would mean working an extra four and a half weeks to replace that lost income.
Gov. Shumlin and Secretary Racine are operating under the assumption that the well-off in Vermont lack any sense of connection to Vermont communities. They moved to Vermont and they stay in Vermont because Vermonters hold and cherish the same values they do. They are far more willing to keep Vermont strong than the governor and the commissioner think.