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[Testimony] The Chamber urges thoughtful analysis of EITC tax credit expansion

Posted Monday, April 17th, 2017

Advocacy, Testimony & Correspondence

Monday, April 17, 2017
City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107

Testimony by: Darrel Davis, Manager of Local Government and Civic Affairs, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Good afternoon, Councilman Jones and members of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. I am Darrell Davis, Manager of Local Government and Civic Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber). Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Bill No. 170245.

The Chamber’s mission is to attract, retain and grow jobs for the city and region. We follow principles of economic competitiveness to guide our public policy. We believe that government at all levels must operate in an efficient way to maximize the services that it provides, and the Chamber will work with other organizations to advance an agenda leading to economic growth and prosperity.

The Chamber representing over 600,000 employees throughout the region, advocates for public policy to grow Pennsylvania’s economy, create jobs, and put the Commonwealth on a fiscally sound path for the future. The Chamber leads this work through its Roadmap for Growth Action Team, which engages government as well as neighborhood and civic associations on a shared job creation and economic growth agenda, prioritizing education, neighborhood economic development, and vulnerable populations.

As it has a direct economic impact on those who live in our diverse neighborhoods, the Chamber applauds Councilman Allan Domb’s efforts to encourage more individuals who live and work in Philadelphia to apply for the federal tax credit program for low to moderate income working individuals and families called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Eligible wage earners who qualify for the EITC can receive a refundable credit of up to $6,269 per income tax return. The average refund is around $2,500.

Of the 228,000 Philadelphians who could receive a refund, almost 40,000 have not applied. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the EITC and child tax credits help lift 9.4 million people out of poverty, including 5 million children. With Philadelphia’s poverty rate hovering around 26%, efforts like this can provide important resources for families struggling to get by and help stabilize neighborhoods. Councilman Domb’s urgency in expanding the utilization of EITC matches the urgency needed in addressing the many issues that plague our neighborhoods. In order for Philadelphia to continue its economic growth, we must use every tool available to combat our high poverty rate. The Roadmap for Growth Action Team stands ready to support this work.

The Chamber urges thoughtful and deliberate analysis when considering the expansion of the EITC tax credit. We are happy to serve as partners in guiding legislation so as to best effectuate a policy’s intent. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Bill No. 170245.

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