The feature article on Washington Post journalist Christopher Ingraham (Grand Forks Herald, 9/25) indicated he moved with his young family to Red Lake Falls, Minn., to escape the exorbitant cost of housing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Despite his professional level occupation, Mr. Ingraham felt strapped. He is not alone, and many in our nation are far worse off.
New data from the U.S. Census shows that in 2018, 38 million Americans were below the poverty line. The average poverty rate in the U.S. was 11.8%. Mr. Ingraham’s new home state of Minnesota has a rate of less than 10%; North Dakota has a rate of 10-10.9%. Sadly, the federal tax code is part of the problem. Currently, the code taxes more than 5 million low-wage workers not raising children at home into – or deeper into – poverty. And, millions of children in low-income families are left out of the full Child Tax Credit (CTC). Congress could have fixed these problems in the 2017 tax law but chose not to.
Congress is considering another tax bill this fall with lots of benefits for businesses. Workers and families must not be ignored again. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and CTC are pro-work, pro-family tax credits for people working in low-wage jobs. Together, they lifted almost 8 million Americans above the poverty line in 2018. Expanding the EITC and CTC would ensure our tax code supports low-income working Americans struggling to make ends meet.
I urge our members of Congress to uphold the principle that no business tax breaks should be extended or expanded without also expanding the EITC and CTC in the same bill. If you are from North Dakota, please join with me in asking Sens. Hoeven and Cramer and Rep. Armstrong to rectify our tax code.