Legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress may finally solve Guam’s longstanding EITC woes.
EITC, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. It is applied on Guam but the federal government does not provide funding for it and Guam’s leaders have long been decrying this “unfunded mandate.”
H.R. 3300, or the “Economic Mobility Act of 2019.” introduced by Rep Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts and co-sponsored by Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas, represents the largest expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program in nearly 25 years.
But according to San Nicolas, the bill also has a provision instructing the Secretary of the Treasury to pay EITC sums to Guam and other U.S. territories with a mirror tax code.
“We are working on the front end to ensure that these opportunities for our people are appropriately captured. I am grateful for my congressional colleagues’ support to ensure that this legacy issue for Guam is addressed,” San Nicolas said in a statement sent to PNC News.
Senator Régine Biscoe Lee, who chairs the Legislature’s federal affairs committee, has already written Rep. Neal expressing support for H.R. 3300.
Lee said attempts to expand EITC eligibility without federal funding for territories like Guam may limit territories’ ability to fund public schools, subsidize public transit, or advance programs that help working people rise—upending the intent of H.R. 3300 altogether.
But the inclusion of language that instructs the U.S. Treasury to make payments to the possessions that relate to the cost of each possession’s EITC significantly advances the economic mobility of Guam’s working families, Lee said.
Lee also praised San Nicolas for tirelessly working to advance Guam’s case on many issues, including federal funding for Guam’s EITC costs.
“As your measure progresses to the Floor and beyond, I hope that you will work with Delegate San Nicolas to bringing this important matter to a fair and responsible conclusion,” Lee stated in her letter to Neal.
H.R. 3300 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and its mark-up hearing was held on Thursday, June 20. H.R. 3300 was ordered favorably reported to the House by a roll call vote (22 Ayes – 19 Nays), as amended.