Thanks to Erik Paulsen

To the Editor:

Thank you, Congressman Erik Paulsen, for visiting one of Prepare + Prosper’s free tax preparation sites during the final week of the tax season. We appreciate you taking the time to visit and talk with volunteers and customers. So far this tax season, volunteers helped 9,887 low- and moderate-income individuals and families file their taxes for free, of which many received the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Maple Grove resident and Prepare + Prosper volunteer Joe Bohlke, right, stands with Executive Director of Prepare + Prosper Tracy Fischman, Congressman Erik Paulsen and Frank Forsberg, with the United Way. Paulsen visited a Prepare + Prosper site earlier this month.
Maple Grove resident and Prepare + Prosper volunteer Joe Bohlke, right, stands with Executive Director of Prepare + Prosper Tracy Fischman, Congressman Erik Paulsen and Frank Forsberg, with the United Way. Paulsen visited a Prepare + Prosper site earlier this month.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the most effective aspects of our tax code. It’s a federal tax credit for working people with lower incomes that encourages and rewards work. In Minnesota’s third congressional district, 31,000 families claimed the EITC in 2014 and the credit put about $65 million back into the pockets of hardworking families. Because of the EITC, taxpayers keep more of what they earned and use it for things like reliable transportation to work, childcare, paying down debt, and saving for an expected emergency.
Congressman, as you saw, this crucial tax credit is making a difference for working Minnesotans and people across the district. But currently, millions of Americans are shut out from the EITC’s powerful anti-poverty affects. Lower-income working Americans not raising children at home receive little to no EITC; and young people age 21-24 are ineligible.
Congress can expand this common-sense policy for workers not raising children at home by increasing the size of the credit for this group, and lowering the age of eligibility to 21. Under bipartisan proposals this would benefit 220,000 Minnesotans, including 11,000 veterans and military services members and 56,000 rural workers.
Congressman Paulsen, thank you again for visiting and as you return to Washington, please bring the stories you heard at the tax clinic with you and continue to protect and expand the EITC during tax reform.

Joe Bohlke,
Maple Grove and Prepare + Prosper Volunteer
Tracy  Fischman,
Executive Director at Prepare + Prosper