In Oregon, an Unlikely Leader in EITC Advocacy

By Lauren Pescatore

The business community has historically supported the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an active member of the National EITC Outreach Partnership and hosts a Workforce Development Leadership Course to educate local businesses and chambers about the benefits of the credit. Notably, chambers in Maryland, D.C. and Louisville, Kentucky backed EITC legislation in recent sessions. As a whole, however, the business community hasn’t been particularly vocal in its support for the credit at the policy level.

In Oregon, it’s a different story. The Main Street Alliance of Oregon, a coalition of small business owners, was an active leader in the campaign to renew and strengthen the state’s EITC in 2013. Now, during the state’s 2015 legislative session, the Oregon Business Council (OBC) is advocating for a range of initiatives to fight poverty. In addition to expanding the EITC, OBC’s policy agenda includes expanding the state’s Individual Development Account program and redesigning TANF to address the “cliff effect” when participants’ earnings make them ineligible for other needed services.

Interested in learning more about how to best engage your local business community in EITC and broader poverty-related advocacy efforts? You can hear directly from members of Oregon’s business community on April 8 (1-2 pm EDT) when Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity hosts a national audio call on OBC’s efforts to make poverty a priority. Participants include:
  • Duncan Wyse, President, Oregon Business Council
  • Beverly Stein, Director of Research and Development, National Policy Consensus Center, Portland State University
  • Patti Whitney-Wise, Executive Director, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
  • Dick Withnell, Member, OBC Poverty Reduction Committee; Owner, Withnell Motor Company