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A Lost Decade in the Fight Against Poverty

September 14, 2011

The poverty rate rose by a statistically significant amount in 32 states over the past decade and didn’t fall by such an amount in any state, according to preliminary state figures the Census Bureau released yesterday (see map).

Few Cheers for New State Budget Year

July 26, 2011

Most states rang in fiscal year 2012 on a sour note this month, enacting unnecessarily deep spending cuts that will harm residents ranging from schoolchildren to seniors and weaken economic growth.

State Budget Cuts’ Trickle-Down Effect

May 26, 2011

Yesterday, Washington State lawmakers passed a budget that cuts $4.5 billion from state services to address a $5 billion shortfall (the rest of the savings come from funds set aside for capital projects and other designations). They could have made smaller cuts if they had also raised revenue, such as by closing tax loopholes and ending unnecessary tax expenditures. But they didn’t, and residents will pay the price — often literally.

Connecticut Creates EITC as Michigan Lawmakers Move to Preserve Theirs

May 11, 2011

Connecticut took a major step forward on behalf of low-income working families last week, enacting an Earned Income Tax Credit worth 30 percent of the federal EITC. Hundreds of thousands of residents will benefit, and local businesses will get a boost as those families spend that money to meet basic needs. The new credit will lift an estimated 9,000 people out of poverty and ease poverty for over 100,000 more.

Republicans in Some States Back Off Their Party’s Longstanding Support for EITC

April 29, 2011

When President Reagan signed sweeping tax overhaul legislation that included a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, he proclaimed that “millions of working poor would be dropped from the tax rolls altogether” and called the legislation “the best anti-poverty bill” to come out of Congress. Both parties strongly favored the EITC, and bipartisan understanding of the struggles of working poor families spread to the states. Nearly half of them enacted a state EITC to complement the federal credit. But, today, the EITC no longer enjoys bipartisan support in some states, as Republicans seek to roll back or block improvements to state credits.

State EITCs Offer Low-Income Working Families a Hand Up

April 19, 2011

As we pointed out recently, roughly half the states have Earned Income Tax Credits to help low-income working families make ends meet (see map), and nearly all of them are preserving their EITCs even in the face of severe budgetary challenges. Our new report discusses how state EITCs, in concert with the federal EITC, are providing much-needed support to working families with low earnings. State EITCs play a particularly important role in the current economic climate, as many families have seen their wages or hours cut back or have lost a wage earner due to the recession. As we explain, state EITCs:

Michigan Tax Deal Kicks Low-Earning Families When They’re Down

April 13, 2011

Nearly 800,000 Michigan families learned yesterday that their taxes will go up next year to help finance a $1.8 billion business tax cut, as Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders announced agreement on a new tax deal that will cut taxes for 95,000 large and small businesses while eliminating the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Arizona’s New Budget Is All Pain, No Gain

April 8, 2011

There’s nothing virtuous or smart about pain for pain’s sake. Unfortunately, the 2012 budget that Arizona’s legislature passed and Governor Brewer signed yesterday inflicts nothing but pain, taking an axe to state services that will harm families, businesses, and, ultimately, the state’s economy.

Q & A: Governors' Budget Proposals: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April 5, 2011

Governors across the country have released their budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Erica Williams, Policy Analyst with the Center’s State Fiscal Project discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of every governor’s budget proposal.

Governors’ Budgets Are Out, and They Aren’t Pretty

March 21, 2011

Governors across the country have released their budgets for the coming fiscal year, and while states are facing serious problems — depressed revenues, rising human needs, depleted reserves, and the end of temporary federal aid — many governors could be making much smarter choices about how to respond.