Over the last few weeks, we’ve released several case studies on recent battles to protect and expand current state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), or to create new ones. The studies included Colorado, where in 2013 advocates won a new permanent EITC; Michigan, where in 2011 advocates maintained the state EITC structure at a reduced rate in the face of efforts to eliminate it; Oklahoma, where in 2012 advocates preserved the state EITC and other working family credits even though both House and Senate voted to eliminate them, and Vermont, where in 2013 advocates preserved the full state EITC after a Democratic governor proposed reducing it by two-thirds.

To help advocates interpret our findings and identify trends in effective EITC campaigns, we’ve put together a resource guide that summarizes the results from all four case studies. Some of the elements found to be common to these effective campaigns include:

  • Coalitions that convene regularly throughout the legislative session.
  • Well-thought-out strategies with clearly identified advocacy targets.
  • Clear and consistent messaging, and monitoring of messaging to gauge effectiveness.
  • The use of data to quantify how many people will benefit (or be harmed) by decisions affecting tax credits.
  • Putting an appealing face to tax credits: introducing legislators to people who receive working family tax credits, or telling their stories, and
  • Leveraging national partners.

In all four states studied, advocates succeeded in creating or protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit against great odds. These case studies reveal that their success was due to thoughtful strategies that were carefully implemented – it was not incidental or due to luck. They offer advocates in other states a wealth of guidance in implementing their own EITC campaigns.

Our case studies can be found here.