Letter to the Editor: Bipartisanship needed to help the working poor

The First State once again can lead the way by showing Congress how legislators can actually work together in a bipartisan manner, finding common ground between majority and minority caucuses to address critical issues.

The League of Women Voters has been fighting for 96 years to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Here in Delaware, the League has been partnering with other groups and agencies for years to solve the poverty crisis. We applaud the efforts of the Delaware Senate Republican Caucus in introducing their anti-poverty plan: “An Agenda to Reduce Poverty in Delaware.” [“New war on poverty proposed for Delaware,” article, March 30]

One program mentioned in the agenda that has continually garnered support from both major political parties is the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit Program. This program is one of the most effective mechanisms we have within our public policy programs to lift people out of poverty. Last year, 73,000 Delawareans received $170 million in EITC funds, averaging $2,309 per qualifying taxpayer.

But there is a problem: if the state EITC program is greater than the state tax due, the low-income worker does not receive the refund. Most states have refundable programs; only Delaware, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia do not. The League of Women Voters of Delaware strongly supports making Delaware’s EITC program refundable to target aid to some of the lowest-income workers and provide work incentives.

We urge all legislators to work together in the democratic spirit of bipartisanship to reduce the suffering of our poorest citizens.

Jill Fuchs
President, League
of Women Voters of Delaware

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