Yale Dems push for tax credit bill

Following the failure of last year’s campaign to enact an Earned Income Tax Credit in Connecticut, the Yale College Democrats are out in force again to lobby for the bill.

The Yale College Democrats are making a renewed push in Connecticut’s General Assembly for the passage of the EITC measure, which would reduce the income tax burden for low-income working families through tax credits. The Dems finished a three-day long signature petition drive Thursday night and will present the signatures to Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other key legislators next week.

Yale Dems President Eric Kafka ’08 said passage of the bill, which was thwarted last year, will depend on rallying public support. The Dems are lobbying for the bill in conjunction with approximately 60 other in-state organizations, including the Connecticut Association for Human Services, Connecticut Voices for Children and the Connecticut Catholic Arch-Diocese.

Margaret Adair, policy director for the Connecticut Association for Human Services, said the issue had brought disparate groups together in a campaign that started much earlier than last year.

“This issue created a very, very diverse coalition of groups that wouldn’t normally be working together,” Adair said.

Ben Shaffer ’08, campaign manager for the Yale Dems, said the main task of organizations involved in the campaign is to show that there is wide support among voters for the bill. The results of an ongoing statewide petition drive — which had collected over 5,000 signatures as of Thursday evening — will be presented to legislators on Feb. 1, he said.

But even if there is strong public support for the legislation, State Rep. Bill Dyson said, lawmakers still have other considerations to take into account.

“Is universal health care going to take up all available resources?” he said. “Am I going to vote for universal health care, or the EITC?”

Starting Tuesday night, the Yale College Democrats set up tables outside residential college dining halls to collect student signatures in support of the bill, Shaffer said. As of Wednesday, the second day of their three-day effort, the Yale Dems had acquired approximately 700 signatures from the Yale community and hoped to have 1,000 by the end of the drive, Shaffer said.

Ward 1 Alderman Nick Shalek ’05 said the bill would promote local economic growth, particularly because it would give money to those most likely to spend it locally.

But Bert Ferrara ’07 , treasurer of the Connecticut Union of College Republicans, said EITC is not be the best way to solve the state’s problems.

“I believe that across the board tax cuts are a lot better way of saying ‘I’m Connecticut, I’m good for jobs,’ than tax credits,” he said.

After the statewide petition results are announced next week, members of the Yale College Democrats plan to personally lobby legislators in Hartford, Shaffer said.

An EITC bill has existed on the federal level since 1975.

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