In fall 2017, the EITC Policy Development Fund (PDF), made a multi-year commitment to help groups in Arkansas and Virginia build awareness of establishing refundable, state EITCs. These two-year, capacity-building investments (2017-2019) were aimed at helping state groups conduct research, build alliances, and raise awareness of the importance of state EITCs to state efforts to reduce poverty and help working families make ends meet.
In August 2019, Arkansas and Virginia received one year of renewal funding to continue efforts to build support for a refundable state EITC.
- Arkansas: Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) is working to raise awareness of the potential impact of a refundable state EITC. AACF is using this award to engage, educate and recruit a broad group of stakeholders, secure champions, change the public narrative around EITC, and elevate the need for a state EITC among policymakers. Specific strategies included improving the understanding of a state EITC among conservative policymakers and influencers, creating a statewide communications campaign and training constituents in targeted parts of the state to advocate for an EITC. Current efforts will focus on gaining support among conservative lawmakers and influencers in the business and health care sectors to build support for legislation in 2021.
- Virginia: The Commonwealth Institute is working to make Virginia’s state Earned Income Tax Credit refundable. They are using this award to undertake a set of intensive policy and engagement work to make sure that a refundable EITC is included in the important debate Virginia is going to be having about the future of state tax policy. Specific strategies included boosting the take-up rate of the existing EITC; being actively engaged in the tax reform debate; effectively engaging existing and new strategic partners; and securing earned media on these issues. Current efforts will focus on making the most of the inequitable tax package as an organizing mechanism, bringing people who would be directly impacted by a refundable EITC into the policy debates around the issue, and capitalizing on the momentum from last session to build stronger champions and advocacy partners for this campaign.