By Bernie Becker - 03/18/14 02:17 PM EDT
Democratic proposals to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would help roughly 15 million taxpayers, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution.
Proposals from the White House and Democratic lawmakers like Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.) would allow certain workers without children to start claiming the credit when they’re 21, instead of the current 25.
The proposals would also increase the maximum amount of credit that workers who don’t have children, or don't have custody of their children, can receive.
According to Brookings, the White House proposal would benefit just over 14 million taxpayers, while the congressional measures would help 15.2 million, with many of those workers coming from fields like retail and food service.
The Brookings study, authored by Elizabeth Kneebone and Jane Williams, adds that the White House proposal could double the number of eligible EITC filers without children in 15 states, and that roughly six in 10 of the taxpayers benefitting from the proposals would come from the country’s top 100 metro areas.
“Modernizing this provision of the EITC by enacting these expansions would help ensure that the credit is as effective a work incentive and poverty alleviation tool for childless workers as it continues to be for working families,” Kneebone and Williams wrote.
Democrats have said that strengthening the EITC should be a bipartisan pursuit, noting that former President Reagan was a strong supporter of the credit.
But Republicans have expressed concerns about the amount of fraud occurring around the EITC. A new tax reform draft from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) would reduce maximum benefits under the EITC.