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There are good policy choices on the table for NC people this year

The deadline for introducing legislation passed on May 26, and by all accounts, the NC General Assembly seems to be moving quickly to wrap up the short session by July 1.

There are a number of good policy choices on the table that should be front and center in our policy debate as North Carolina’s leaders make decisions that will affect the path we are on for the next decade.

The ideas below would ensure that our policies are centering the people who have been most harmed by the pandemic’s effects, and in so doing, also would ensure that we all have the freedom to thrive.

COVID-19 is still with us, employment gains in the recovery have been incredibly uneven, and hardship remains elevated. According to analysis by Haley Toresdahl and Logan Rockefeller Harris on our team, 40 percent of households with children have struggled to make ends meet in the past week. Many households continue to report challenges in putting food on the table, paying rising rents, and affording child care.

The General Assembly has a responsibility and an opportunity to make sure that the effort to bounce back from the pandemic downturn will directly address the clear effects of systemic underinvestment and exclusion so that our state is on a stronger foundation for the future.

To ensure that households have the income to keep up with the rising costs of basics and to build the public infrastructure that will lay the foundation for every person in our state to reach their full potential, the policy ideas below are ones to follow.

  • House Bill 1083 and Senate Bill 858 would establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit that would allow working families to keep more of what they earn through a refundable credit that builds on the proven benefits of the federal credit.
  • House Bill 1127 would increase the state’s Work First cash assistance benefit to households with very low incomes or in crisis to ensure that they can continue their movement out of poverty.
  • House Bill 1138 and Senate Bill 865 would establish a refundable Child Tax Credit modeled after the successful federal Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty nearly in half last year before expiring in January.
  • Senate Bill 820 would fund the expansion of free tax preparation sites, which are key infrastructure for ensuring that families with low incomes can access the tax credits that they are eligible to receive.
  • House Bill 1117 would fund child-care assistance for more families and would remove the requirement that families with low incomes pay 10 percent of their income on child care.
  • Finally, Senate Bill 896 would stop the elimination of the corporate income tax over the next decade and instead would provide the resources to fund investments in public education, public health, and housing that will matter for the economic recovery.

We look forward to working with the sponsors of this legislation and all members of the General Assembly to ensure that our shared resources deliver the programs, schools, and supports that all of our families need. ​Nothing should stand in the way of North Carolina providing a great life for all our families.​