Budget Blog

Below are a few stories from late last week and over the weekend highlighting Senator Murray’s 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, which would complement critical reforms like raising the minimum wage by helping workers and families in today’s economy keep more of what they earn.

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post Columnist: “…one of last week's most important and least noted political events was the introduction of the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Murray favors a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour, but she also has other ideas that would help Americans at the bottom of the income structure to earn more.” LINK

Reihan Salam, National Review Columnist: “…Murray has done us a service by advancing a serious proposal that has the potential to better the lives of a large number of workers.” LINK

CQ News: “The Washington Democrat’s proposal, released this week to coincide with the unveiling of the Democrats’ ‘fair shot’ election-year agenda, would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and create a new credit for families with two earnersAn anchor of federal anti-poverty programs that has grown dramatically since its inception in 1975, the EITC is drawing renewed interest on both sides of the aisle: Republicans see the program as a more efficient alternative to raising the minimum wage, and Democrats have made expanding it a cornerstone of their efforts to fight income inequality. LINK

On Tuesday, Chairman Patty Murray spoke at the Fortune Most Powerful Women event in Washington, D.C. There, in an interview with Nina Easton, the senior editor of Fortune, she discussed the bipartisan budget deal she reached with Congressman Paul Ryan in December.

She said during negotiations, she and Congressman Ryan relied on trust to make compromises and forge a two-year deal that rolls back some of the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, and prevents another government shutdown through 2015.

Since 1975, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has helped millions of households lift themselves out of poverty. Now, it's time to modernize our tax code to better reflect today's workforce with The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act. Click on the image for a more detailed look. 

The 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act

See the PDF of this infographic here.
Yesterday, Senator Murray met with port directors from across the country to discuss the nation’s critical and growing infrastructure deficit. This deficit affects the United States’ highways, transit systems, rail, ports, and more. It is hurting businesses, hurting commuters, hampering economic growth—and if investments aren’t made to tackling this problem now, it is only going to get worse.

Senator Murray also outlined some of the ways she would like to build on the two year budget to continue working to tackle the serious deficits the country is facing, from research and development to education, jobs, and infrastructure.
Chairman Patty Murray wrote an op-ed in The Hill to announce the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, which would update the tax code to help today's workers and families keep more of what they earn. The bill would build on work incentives both Republicans and Democrats agree have been effective, and it is paid for by closing wasteful loopholes both parties have proposed eliminating.
Today, Chairman Murray had planned to speak at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference to emphasize the importance of combating hunger in our country. Unfortunately, a snow storm in the area prevented her from attending.

Excerpts from her speech, as prepared for delivery, can be found after the jump.
Working hard in a full time job shouldn’t leave a family in poverty. But right now, a minimum wage worker, who puts in 40 hours a week, with no time off, earns $15,080 a year. That’s $3,204 less than the poverty threshold for a family of three. In 2012, for a family of four, the poverty threshold was $23,492 a year, that’s more than $8,412 less than a minimum wage worker earns in a year.

The current minimum wage makes it nearly impossible for working parents to make ends meet.