Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference: Earned Income Tax Credit
April 7, 2004

Good morning. Thank you all for being here.

Tax day is a little more than a week away. It’s a time when people rush to fill out their forms, in anticipation that they might be getting some money back from Uncle Sam.

We’re here today to spread the message to our low- and moderate-income families in Washington that they can qualify for thousands of dollars from the federal government – even if they owe no taxes!

It’s made possible through the Earned Income Tax Credit – or the EITC – a federal program that rewards work. Last year, the EITC put more than $537 million into the pockets of Washington workers, which was used to buy food and clothes, to pay rent and fix cars. That, in turn, helped our state’s businesses and our state’s economy.

Last year, Washington experienced a 16.5 percent increase in EITC dollars claimed over the previous year.

But millions of federal dollars are still going unclaimed by deserving families in Washington – money that could help them pay their bills and put food on the table – simply because they don’t know the credits are available.

A married couple with two children and a combined income of up to $34,692 can qualify for the EITC. So can a single person with one child who earns up to $29,666. A single person with no children who earns up to $11,230 can also qualify.

This money makes a difference in the lives of our hard working citizens. It helps our businesses and the state’s economy. But in order for families to qualify for the money, they need to file a claim for it.

Joining me today are three women who have benefited from the Earned Income Tax Credit:
· Courtney Schmidt of Aberdeen
· Naomi Gross of Morton
· Leila Nix of Tenino

First, I’d like to introduce Courtney to say a few words. As a single mother of a 1-year-old daughter, she is getting back several thousand dollars through the Earned Income Tax Credit – money she plans to put to good use. Courtney…

Thank you, Courtney.

Now I’d like to introduce Naomi Gross. Naomi is a single mother of two children who received nearly $3,000 through the EITC – money she used to buy a used car to get her to work and school. Naomi…

Thank you, Naomi.

Next up is Leila (LEE-luh) Nix. Leila is a single mother of two who received close to $1,000 through the EITC. And she stands to get even more money back from past years. Leila…

Thank you, Leila.

The amount of the tax credit depends on family size and gross income. Those near the top of the income limit will not get money back, but won’t have to pay any taxes and they still qualify for the Child Tax Credit. .

Here's a look at how the EITC can benefit minimum-wage workers:
· A single parent of two children who works full-time may get $4,026 – or a 28 percent boost to annual income.
· A single parent working part-time with one child may get $2,474 – the equivalent of four months of earnings.
· A married couple where one parent works full-time and the other part-time, may get $2,489 if they have two children or $1,125 for one child.
· A single person with no children who works part-time may get $303.
This is money that gets put back into our state’s economy.

To talk more about the economic impact of the EITC, I am pleased to introduce Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business.


Thank you, Don.

Washington has always been a leader in the number of citizens filing for the EITC – state government staffs a hotline, provides information on our WorkFirst and WorkSource Web sites and at our WorkSource offices, and even sends out direct mail notices.

But we’re working even harder this year to make sure that everyone who qualifies, is made aware of this opportunity.

We’ve made new, free software available at all of our WorkSource offices across the state and on our WorkSource Web site that shows people how to file for the EITC.
They can even fill out the form at the WorkSource office, print it up, and send it off to the IRS!

The Northwest Justice Project helps administer the software. Joining us today is the group’s Joan Kleinberg. Joan…

The people of Washington work hard, and they should keep as much of their earnings as possible to provide for themselves and their families.

The EITC rewards them for working.

We want everyone who qualifies to file – and put their hard earned money to work for them, and their families.

Thank you.

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