Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley co-sponsored two bills this week to cut taxes for working families. The Savings for Working Families Act and Right Start Child Care and Education Act are part of President Obama’s proposal to ease the financial burdens on working families in the weakened economy.
“The people hit hardest by this recession are those with the least wiggle room in their budgets,” Merkley said. “I strongly support expansion of individual development account programs. By providing ‘hand-up’ assistance, this program allows low-income Americans to pursue proven paths that strengthen families through education, home ownership, and launching small businesses. These savings accounts help families build a better future when they are willing to do the hard work of saving funds while living with a very modest income.”
The Savings for Working Families Act expands the individual development account (IDA) program that allows low-income Americans to use matched, tax-exempt savings accounts to save and build assets as well as promote financial education. As part of the popular program, deposits are matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $500 per year, for a total of $2,000 over four years. The use of IDA funds is limited to certain qualified expenses, including post-secondary education, buying a first home, or starting or expanding a small business. Merkley spearheaded the first such program in Oregon when he served in the state legislature.
The Right Start Child Care and Education Act expands tax credits for families with children, provides tax incentives for businesses to provide or connect employees to child care services, and promotes education and certification of child care providers.
“This is wonderful news,” said Joy Garlin Hunt, Program Associate for Neighborhood Partnerships in Portland, Oregon. “This legislation will be an important step forward for hard working Oregon families seeking to build their savings.”
Last year, Senator Merkley voted for several additional measures that cut taxes for 95 percent of American families, including tax credits of $400 per worker or $800 per family.