President Clinton today will propose for his last year in office to build on one of the signature initiatives of his first year in office: an expansion of the earned-income tax credit (EITC).
In a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist political group that he once chaired, Clinton will say that the program designed to reduce the tax burden on lower-income workers should grow by $22 billion over 10 years.
The EITC aims to help workers with incomes at or above the poverty line who are facing economic hardship. The goal of giving a special tax credit to the working poor is to ensure that working is more profitable than going on public assistance.
The idea began in 1975 and originally was championed by many Republicans, but Clinton vastly broadened the program in his first budget proposal. Some Republicans say the program has grown too expensive and too vulnerable to fraud. Nearly 20 million low- and moderate-income families receive money from the government under the program.
Clinton's plans were first reported by the Associated Press and the New York Times. The EITC proposal is part of a tax cut package, which White House officials have said will be in the neighborhood of $300 billion, that Clinton will lay out in his State of the Union address Jan. 27.