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March 27, 2008

Congresswoman Velázquez Announces New Legislation to Provide Additional
EITC Benefit for Overtime Workers

Visits Sunset Park community center where free, bilingual tax preparation services are provided for EITC recipients

BROOKLYN, NY – With tax season in full swing, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today visited a community center in Sunset Park to encourage local workers to seek out free tax preparation services being offered for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) recipients. The Congresswoman announced new legislation that would strengthen the EITC to provide an additional credit for the hardest workers in our economy who often do not receive overtime pay or other benefits.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of our most important anti-poverty tools, and it helps to build the middle-class. It’s vitally important that every eligible taxpayer receives this credit, and I commend the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park and Food Bank for New York for all they are doing to provide free, bilingual tax preparation services to the community,” Congresswoman Velázquez said.

At today’s event, Congresswoman Velázquez stressed that in addition to filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit, local residents must file a tax return this year to be eligible for the one-time economic stimulus rebate. The rebates, totaling hundreds of dollars per family, will be sent automatically to qualified individuals who have filled out a 2007 tax return.

“This year, the stimulus rebate will provide much-needed support to more than 8.3 million New Yorkers,” Congresswoman Velázquez said. “Now we must look forward, and work to create a tax benefit that will lend a hand of assistance to the hardest workers who continue to struggle to make ends meet.”

The Congresswoman’s legislation, “The Overtime Restoration Act of 2008,” would strengthen the EITC for low-income individuals who work more than 40 hours per week. The bill would provide a worker who is eligible for the EITC with a one percent bonus credit for every week he or she exceeds 40 hours of work. According to the Census Bureau, 64,000 people in the New York City area received the EITC in 2005 and reported that they regularly worked more than 40 hours per week. These are the workers targeted by the Congresswoman’s legislative proposal.

“It’s clear that our neighbors are forced to take on second and third jobs, working nights and weekends, just to make ends meet. Yet they aren’t getting benefits or overtime pay from any of their employers. The Overtime Restoration Act would provide our hardest workers with the additional credit they need to get through these tough economic times,” Congresswoman Velázquez said.