The EITC Policy Development Fund (EITC PDF) was established in 2015 to provide multi-year support to state-based policy groups laying the groundwork to develop or improve state EITCs. Awards are made in the early Fall at $75,000 a year for two years. Awardees may be eligible to apply for additional support at the end of their two year contracts if funds are available.
The PDF is intended to support the development and execution of EITC state policy work. While generous, these funds are not intended to comprise the entirety of a campaign or effort. It is anticipated that these funds will be part of a larger effort. The EITC PDF includes several program components:
- Southern Geographic Focus: To help maximize learning and shared experiences, the PDF decided to focus on selecting participants from southern states. The South was chosen because of the tremendous need to raise awareness of the value of state EITCs in this deep-poverty region, to encourage peer learning through shared experiences, and to work collaboratively with the vibrant community of local and regional southern funders.
- Technical Assistance: Participating state groups will have technical assistance available to them from CBPP and The Hatcher Group. Participants will be required to work with these firms to discuss strategy, coalition building, communications, etc.
- Peer Network: By selecting a southern regional strategy, the PDF hopes to support the exchange of strategies and learnings among southern-focused peer organizations (including, but not limited to those awarded PDF funds).
To date, $1,050,000 has been awarded to five state networks in policy development funds.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) is working to raise awareness of the potential impact of a refundable state EITC. AACF will use 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 include 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.
The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI) launched a communications and engagement campaign to raise awareness of the value of developing a refundable state EITC. This award helped GBPI develop outreach and communications materials, build new partnerships, organize meetings to coordinate partner organizations, publish EITC research, develop a campaign website to engage the broader public, and identify allies to write letters, tell stories, and energize the public. Education with key lawmakers has gone well and they are hopeful that newcomers to the 2019 Georgia General Assembly will be receptive to supporting the credit.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute applied for and was awarded a Campaign Fund allocation in 2018 after their PDF award ended. Because their organization built enough internal and external capacity over the three years of PDF support, they were ready to apply for Campaign Fund support.
Hope Policy Institute (formerly know as The Mississippi Economic Policy Center) worked to grow their strategic communications around establishing a state EITC. The Hope Policy Institute used this award to develop a website devoted to information on a state EITC, produce factsheets for legislators about the benefit of a state EITC to their district, partner with nonprofits and advocacy organizations to develop a message that reaches multiple stakeholder groups, and launch a social media campaign highlighting EITC benefits. Unfortunately, the state’s terrible fiscal crisis has meant that significant policymaker attention has gone to finding ways to reduce the budget and not increase it (as would an EITC).
The Commonwealth Institute is working to make Virginia’s state Earned Income Tax Credit refundable. They will use 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 include 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.
The West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy (CBP), West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, and West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families are coming together to raise awareness of a state EITC. This award helped CBP convene a state-wide tax coalition to articulate a vision for tax reform ahead of the legislative season and hold policy workshops, a policy symposium, and in-district community meetings. CBP also led a public information campaign with the assistance of potential EITC beneficiaries, religious organizations, the banking and finance industry, local businesses, and West Virginia Head Start. Despite promising developments, activity around the teacher strikes in the state stalled some momentum in 2018. They hope to capitalize on potential opportunities after the election, and opportunities to increase the tobacco tax or re-appropriate spending proposed by the governor, to create an EITC.
The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy applied for and was awarded a Campaign Fund allocation in 2018 after their PDF award ended. Because their organization built enough internal and external capacity over the three years of PDF support, they were ready to apply for Campaign Fund support.