LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Legislature's modest inclusion of tax filers that use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) with children under 6 in California's Earned Income Tax Credit and the Young Child Tax Credit is a good step, but we need more. The new proposal would only reach approximately 32,000 to 46,000 tax filers and their families, leaving out a vast majority of ITIN filers, including 178,000 children. With income disparities growing throughout the state, California's advocates have been pushing for an inclusive CalEITC for over three years. Now, with a looming recession, we need this inclusive policy to protect California's nearly 600,000 individuals and their families from falling deeper into poverty and to address structural inequities embedded in our state's tax system.
California has long been a leader on immigrant rights work, but this year, Colorado is poised to become the first in the nation to enact an inclusive state earned income tax credit for immigrant workers and their families. The Colorado expansion will encompass all workers who file taxes with an ITIN and their families in the Centennial State - no worker or family with children will be left out.
Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales, a co-sponsor of the Budget Legislation HB20-1420 that includes the provision for immigrant workers, sent a clear message California advocates hope our Governor will hear, "Crisis exacerbates inequality, and in a time of massive hardship and a reckoning with systems that are too-often discriminatory, it becomes even more critical for decision-makers to take actions that address structural inequity. I am proud of the work that Colorado has done to include ITIN filers in its EITC expansion efforts through the recent passage of HB20-1420. I hope and expect California to lean in and join us by addressing this crisis by creating inclusive and equitable tax policy changes."
In California, the proposal's success hinges on Governor Newsom, who has historically not supported an expansion of CalEITC to ITIN filers. In fact, in 2019 the California Legislature agreed on a full expansion of the credit to immigrant workers, but during final negotiations, this hard-fought policy change was stripped away.
In the Golden State, non-citizen immigrant workers are bearing a disproportionate share of COVID-19-related job losses, with estimates suggesting that 68 percent of undocumented Californians work in the industries that have lost the most jobs since the COVID-19 economic crisis began (compared to 55 percent of all workers). Further, we know that about two in three immigrant workers excluded from the CalEITC are COVID-19 essential workers.
As multiple newspaper Editorial Boards have noted, expanding CalEITC is a smart and relatively inexpensive way to support households excluded from federal and state relief and public programs, like unemployment insurance, designed to help when jobs disappear, or hours are cut. But California is only making incremental progress to help these households and the CalEITC Coalition, legislative leaders, and economic experts alike know this isn't enough. California should lead with Colorado and invest in immigrant workers.
We urge Governor Newsom to accept the Legislature's proposal, and better yet, to go further and include all ITIN filers. Full ITIN inclusion is critical and necessary to ensure recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is truly a recovery for all.
The members of the California Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition include:
California Immigrant Policy Center
United Ways of California
Children's Defense Fund California
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Alameda County Community Foodbank
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
California Catholic Conference
California Interfaith Coalition
California Association of Food Banks
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton
California County of Welfare Rights
California Employment Lawyers Association
California Food and Farming Network
California Food Policy Advocates
California Labor Federation
California Nurses Association
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
California Reinvestment Coalition
California Welfare Directors Association
California Women's Law Center
Childcare Law Center
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los
Drug Policy Alliance
End Child Poverty Campaign
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Economic Security Project Action
First 5 Association of California
Friends Committee on Legislation of
Golden State Opportunity Foundation
Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
John Burton Advocates for Youth
Jewish Public Affairs Committee of
Justice in Aging
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition
Leadership Counsel for Justice and
Legal Aid at Work
Lutheran Office of Public Affairs California
National Association of Social Workers
National Council of Jewish Women -
California Policy Advocacy Network
San Diego Immigrant Rights Coalition
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
TODEC Legal Center
UDW AFSCME Local 3930
Voices for Progress
Western Center on Law and Poverty