The 2016 Presidential Candidates: Where Do They Stand on Tax Credits?

By Lauren Pescatore

As the 2016 primaries draw nearer, the presidential candidates’ economic plans are coming into clearer view.  As in past elections, the tax code is front and center.

On the Republican side, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) want to completely revamp the current tax system, including establishing a flat tax and potentially eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would replace the EITC but expand the CTC for higher-income earners. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) supports expanding the CTC. The remaining Republican candidates have yet to release a plan for the credits.

Among the relatively smaller pool of Democratic candidates, there’s been surprising silence on the EITC and CTC. We wrote previously about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plan to provide tax credits for businesses as an incentive for hiring younger workers, but she has yet to unveil a plan for tax credits for working families. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) would raise taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, but also makes no mention of the EITC or CTC.

So, Democrats – where’s the beef?

Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution recently spoke to TCWF, predicting that the EITC would likely play a big role in the economic plans of candidates on both sides of the aisle. Given their track record of support for tax credits for working families, most of the Democratic candidates seem poised to support the EITC and CTC. With a handful of candidates on the right actively calling for the elimination of the EITC, more Democrats may want to speak up now in favor of the credit.

As Haskin predicted, those voices are likely to become louder in the coming months.