N.J. advocates, lawmaker urge Congress to include younger workers in tax credit

A recent increase in New Jersey's earned income tax credit will help working families. But low-income workers between 21 and 24 can't take the credit. (Ocus Focus/Bigstock)

A recent increase in New Jersey's earned income tax credit will help working families. But low-income workers between 21 and 24 can't take the credit. (Ocus Focus/Bigstock)

Some New Jersey lawmakers and advocates for the working poor are urging Congress to expand a tax credit for young couples without children.

A recent increase in New Jersey’s earned income tax credit is crucial to improving the lives of working families, advocates say.

But Ann Vardeman with New Jersey Citizen Action said Tuesday too many young workers and those without children are being left out of the economic benefits of the credit.

“Getting that large chunk of money in April allows people to pay their utility bills, to fix their cars, to buy clothes and food,” she said. “If you think 22-year-olds don’t need an extra boost when they’re working a low income job, that’s not fair.”

Renee Koubiadis, the executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, said low-income workers between 21 and 24 can’t take the credit.

“New Jersey has the highest number of young adults living at home with parents because they cannot afford to move out on their own right now,” she said. “Lowering the eligibility age to 21 would enable more young people to enter the workforce and to more fully participate in our state’s economy.”

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto joined in calling on federal lawmakers to increase the amount of the credit.

“We’ll keep fighting to make sure we help every New Jersey resident to bolster and rebuild our middle class,” said Prieto, D- Hudson.

Three separate proposals awaiting action in Congress would boost the current maximum $506 credit to as much as $1,500.

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