Earned Income Tax Credit
Working Floridians Tax Rebate
The Working Floridians Tax Rebate (WFTR) is a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program for workers and families, who qualify for the federal EITC, to help them afford the basics, purchase or repair a vehicle, or pay off bills and debt. In 2021, more than 2.6 million Floridians received $5.5 billion through the EITC. The WFTR program would further boost the credit and help millions of Floridians, including approximately 1.6 million households with children, with an average tax rebate of $513 per household.
Across the Sunshine State, families and workers who are paid lower wages spend more of their income on state and local taxes compared to wealthier residents. As a result, Florida has the third-most upside-down or regressive tax code in the country, which means that Floridians who are struggling to afford basic needs are overtaxed.
This is due to decades of policy decisions to turn away from tax policy based on a person’s ability to pay and toward a tax system that helps affluent households and corporations build up savings and wealth while simultaneously making it difficult for struggling families and workers to make ends meet, much less thrive.
Decades of research shows that children in families that receive the EITC have higher math and reading test scores and are more likely to finish high school and obtain college degrees. Many of the EITC’s educational benefits are more significant for boys and Black and Latina/o children. The federal EITC is one of the nation’s most powerful tools for helping families afford basic needs now and building a path to upward mobility for future generations. While several states have their own version of the EITC to boost its benefits for children and families, Florida does not.
Research shows that EITC recipients spend their refunds on things like goods, purchasing or repairing a vehicle for work, or paying off bills and debt. In short, EITC recipients spend a significant portion of their refunds locally. Case studies in Tennessee, Maryland, Texas, and California have shown that every $1.00 increase in EITC benefits returns between $1.07 to $2.00 worth of economic activity. In Florida, this policy would generate $881 million for our state economy.
We all lose when policy decisions limit who can thrive, but when Floridians come together to pursue a better future, everyone wins. In 2022, 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico offered their own version of the EITC to further amplify the success of the policy. Florida did not. While the WFTR program was assigned to individual committees for consideration, the proposal ultimately “died in committee,” meaning that members either did not have enough time to discuss the program or decided that it should not be recommended to the full membership of the Florida House and Senate for a vote. Fortunately, this year, policymakers once again have an opportunity to reform Florida’s tax code, increase economic stability and opportunity, and improve child and community well-being by supporting the Working Floridians Tax Rebate program.
Policymakers can help build more prosperous communities and strengthen future generations by supporting the Working Floridians Tax Rebate program. Tell your legislator to make a multigenerational investment, increase family income, reduce child poverty, and improve children’s health, education, and career outcomes by passing the WFTR program.