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Lawmakers are expected to extend the earned income tax credit and make it refundable

Catherine Cruz

State lawmakers are expected to approve a measure that would extend a tax credit for low- and middle-class families.

House Bill 510 would not only extend the state’s earned income tax credit for another six years – but also make it refundable.

Supporters and advocates of the proposal held a rally Monday morning at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol.

"Under a non-refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, households are merely allowed to lower their tax liability, or the taxes that they owe, and they're not able to actually access that increased income supplement on their tax return, which makes it incredibly important that we move to make this credit both refundable, as well as permanent — so the working families can access this economic lifeline year after year and not have to worry about it going away," said Will White, the director of the Hawaiʻi Budget and Policy Center.

"As most folks here in Hawaiʻi know, we have one of the highest costs of living in the nation," White said. "This is a perfect opportunity for the Legislature to stand up for working families and recognize that folks are going to need help paying the rent, they're going to need help putting food on the table. They're definitely going to need help putting gas in the tank so they can get to work."

HB510 passed its second reading last week and will be scheduled for a third, and final, reading on the Senate floor.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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