Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush Joins Ranks of Conservatives Backing the EITC

In a new tax plan unveiled yesterday, former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush pledged to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if elected. Bush joins a steadily growing list of conservative supporters of tax credits for working families.

Most recently, his Republican opponents vying for the presidency – Sen. Marco Rubio and former Sen. Rick Santorum – announced their support for expanding the Child Tax Credit. New Jersey governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie proposed and signed into law an increased state-level EITC. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker (R) did the same.

Until now, Bush had been relatively silent on the EITC. His home state of Florida doesn’t have an income tax, let alone offer a state-level EITC. The issue only recently came to light in what The Washington Post is calling “a nod to so-called Reform Conservatives, who are pushing Republicans to target more policies to help the poor.” Bush estimates that under his plan roughly 15 million Americans “will no longer bear any income-tax liability.”

Unfortunately, the other tax cuts laid out in the plan offer little help to lower-income working families. Bush would eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, both of which disproportionately benefit higher-income earners. He would also lower the tax rate for individuals earning more than $190,000 and married couples earning more than $230,000.

Expanding the EITC is a great starting point for helping workers who aren’t paid enough to cover the cost of living and raising a family. But, as some point out, in a tax plan that seems skewed toward the wealthy, expanding the EITC alone is unlikely to be enough.