By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the 2003 movie “Cheaper by the Dozen,” Steve Martin played the hapless father of 12 children and had audiences laughing in the aisles. But in real life, many families with a lot of children struggle financially, according to US Rep. Jerrold Nadler.
Parents who have a lot of children should be getting a bigger tax break from Uncle Sam, Nadler said. The congressman has introduced a bill that he said will help large families cope with the high costs of living.
The Tax Fairness for All Families Act of 2013 would provide an increasingly larger Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for families with more than three children.
Nadler (D-Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge-Manhattan) said he drafted the proposed legislation after hearing from many of his constituents with large families who told him they need tax relief. “My district has many large families, often living in or near poverty, and many need help with daily expenses so that they don’t slip through the cracks,” he said.
“The burden of balancing work, family and community life, especially in expensive areas like New York City, is very challenging. My bill responds directly to the needs and concerns of large families, and would help them pay for basic necessities, like food, rent, transportation, and other costs that families with more children incur,” Nadler said.
Under the bill, families with more than three children would receive an increasingly larger Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the size of a family’s EITC would depend on the income and the number of children.
Under current law, a family’s EITC maxes out at 45% of income for three or more children regardless of the number of children in the family.
Nadler’s bill would expand the number of children for which a family can claim the EITC to seven or more. Families with four children would receive a 50% credit; five children a 55% credit; six children a 60% credit; and, seven or more children a 65% credit.
In addition, the EITC would be phased out gradually as a family’s income increases, so that families would not be all of sudden cut off from a benefit just because their income grows, Nadler said.
Mike Long, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, is the father of nine grown children. But Long charged that Nadler’s bill is the wrong approach to easing the tax burden on US families. “His legislation is the wrong way to go. We shouldn’t have targeted tax relief. We shouldn’t be conditioning people to be in certain categories in order to get tax relief,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“What we really should do is lower the taxes for everyone; small families, large families. We should be lowering the tax burden on everyone. That’s how you grow the economy. If people’s taxes were lower, they would spend more or save more. We should be making everyone’s life better,” Long said.