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HB 762 (Crossover): Income Tax - Earned Income Tax Credit – Eligibility Awareness Campaign Pilot Program

Position: SUPPORT

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public-policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

HB 762, as amended, requires the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the Comptroller to implement and administer an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) eligibility awareness pilot program to encourage eligible individuals in Baltimore City and Somerset County to claim both the federal and state EITC. The bill also establishes the EITC Eligibility Awareness Campaign Fund and requires DHR to request certain taxpayer information from the Comptroller in order to identify potentially eligible individuals and contact the individuals by mail.

The EITC is a successful anti-poverty tool that provides a meaningful boost to low-income workers and families, enabling them to make necessary purchases, such as making a major home repair, and take care of basic needs. Yet, many individuals and families in Maryland are not utilizing the EITC for a number of different reasons. The Department of Legislative Services noted that Maryland’s current 76.4% participation rate in the EITC ranks 38th among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and just a 1% increase in participation would benefit 5,600 households. Increased utilization of the EITC not only benefits households, but is a boost to local economies since every $1 that is invested in the EITC generates $1.24 for the economy. The Conference supports outreach initiatives that will expand the scope and use of the EITC in Maryland.

The Conference appreciates your consideration and urges you to support HB 762.