With Too Many Arkansans Struggling, Now is the time for a State EITC

Too many Arkansans struggled to make ends meet in 2014, according to new data released today from the Census Bureau, highlighting the need for Arkansas to take action to pass a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which would make it easier for people to build a secure future.

One in five Arkansans struggled to afford basic necessities in 2014, living on less than $24,000 a year for a family of four. Kids are even more likely to live in poverty than adults. 30 percent of Arkansas kids younger than 6 are growing up in families that can’t give them a good start to life because they make this little. Although there were small improvements between 2013 and 2014, the number of people struggling remains too high and is holding back our economy and hampering our kids’ futures.

A state EITC would open the doors of opportunity for people who work at low wage jobs by letting them keep more of what they earn to help pay for things that allow them to keep working, such as child care and transportation. This will help build a more secure future for these families – including their kids – while boosting local economies across the state.

All families should have an equal shot at making a good life for themselves and their children. But, especially in Arkansas, low-income workers have a lot more barriers to success than their middle and upper-income neighbors. The poorest Arkansans pay the highest state and local tax rates as a percent of their income than any other group and have limited access to quality education. The good news is we can reduce one of the barriers faced by thousands of struggling Arkansans with a state-level EITC. About half the states in the Nation have already benefited from this proven strategy. Learn more about why it’s time for Arkansas to join the group of other states who are putting poverty behind in our report.

Check out AACF’s other Census data blogs explaining our state’s status in health coverage and how minority families are doing.