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Rep. Pascrell Introduces the Tax Equity and Prosperity for Puerto Rican Families Act

Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and 12 cosponsors introduced a measure in the House of Representatives that would extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) to U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.

"Prior to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s economy had been battered by years of recession, with nearly half the population living in poverty. While working families on the mainland have had the benefit of earning the EITC and CTC to supplement their income, encourage work and assist them in providing for their families, residents of Puerto Rico have had no such benefit. I've long advocated for an extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit for Americans in Puerto Rico, but given the devastation on the island today, this need has become an imperative," Rep. Pascrell said. "The EITC has proven its worth in the United States by rewarding working families and individuals and encouraging participation in the formal economy. Last year, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.8 million Americans out of poverty. These proven, effective economic measures have had the support of Democrats and Republicans, and extending them to the citizens of Puerto Rico simply provides equal treatment to our fellow Americans."

The Tax Equity and Prosperity for Puerto Rican Families Act of 2017 amends Section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to add residents of Puerto Rico to EITC recipients. It modifies the tax code to, for the purposes of this credit, compute gross income without regard to Section 933 (which exempts from federal taxation residents of Puerto Rico).

Additionally, this legislation amends the IRC to clarify that families with one or two children may also receive the CTC. Currently, Puerto Ricans are only eligible for the CTC if they have three or more children.

In the 1990s, the EITC became a major component of federal efforts to reduce poverty. EITC eligibility would strengthen Puerto Rico’s economy, workforce participation, family well-being, and tax compliance.

The Tax Equity and Prosperity for Puerto Rican Families Act is co-sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Rep. Vicente González (D-TX), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).

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