In 2015, the CalEITC debuted to help California fight poverty. More than 385,000 Californians received the new credit, resulting in more than $200 million in refunds — extra money to pay for necessities like housing, transportation and clothing, and to get out from the cycle of mounting bills. This achievement is laudable, but we can do more.
Eligibility for CalEITC is far too restrictive. Parents with two children cannot qualify if they earn more than $14,000 per year. In other words, we are ignoring a lot of unmet need among working families who need a boost. Nearly half of California’s children live in or near poverty, and over 80 percent of these children are in families with at least one working parent.
We have a chance to take a more aggressive stance in fighting poverty by expanding CalEITC through Assembly Bill 1010, which enables full-time minimum-wage workers to claim the credit. The bill also modifies the program so that the self-employed may apply. Excluding this growing workforce hurts California’s independent contractors, including the gig-economy workforce, and entrepreneurs struggling to make ends meet.