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Rewarding Work: The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit in Chicago

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The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will boost earnings for over 18 million low-income working families in the U.S. by more than $30 billion this year. This survey finds that the EITC provided a $737 million boost to the Chicago regional economy in 1998, and lifted purchasing power in the city of Chicago by an average of $2 million per square mile. Large numbers of Low-income working families lived not only in inner-city Chicago neighborhoods, but also in smaller cities throughout the region like Aurora, Joliet, Elgin and Waukegan. The survey concludes by describing steps that state and local leaders could take to build on existing efforts to link working families to the EITC, such as increasing resources for free tax preparation services, helping EITC recipients to open bank accounts, and expanding and making refundable the Illinois state EITC.

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