It’s time to raise the federal minimum wage, as my colleague Isaac Shapiro wrote earlier today. In the meantime, states can help address stagnant wages and the struggles of working families by boosting the minimum wage within their borders, and by simultaneously adopting or expanding a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Minimum wage increases and EITC improvements each help low-income workers and their families get ahead, but doing both is particularly beneficial, for a number of reasons.
A number of states have taken steps this year to improve or adopt an EITC (see map). California adopted one, while Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey increased theirs. Rhode Island increased both its EITC and minimum wage. Other states should look to enact or expand a state EITC at the same time that they increase their minimum wage and set it to grow with the cost of living to make the biggest impact for working families most in need.