Left on the Table

NEW REPORT: The California Economy and Low-Income Residents Lose $1 Billion when Earned Income Tax Credits go Unclaimed


March 9, 2010

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


New America

740 15th St NW #900

Washington, D.C. 20005

On March 9th, 2010, the Asset Building Program released Left on the table, a new report on the EITC's economic impact in California. Read the press release, which describes the report's main findings and features statements from Governor Schwarzenneger, report author Dr. Avalos, and New America's Anne Stuhldreher, here. In advance of the report release, Anne also published an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, A Tax Credit That's Ready To Give – If People Ask.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the federal government's largest resources for working low-income Americans. It is widely regarded as the nation's most effective and efficient anti-poverty program and has been expanded by a series of Democratic and Republican presidents. But hundreds of thousands of Californians fail to claim EITC refunds, which range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each.

Families aren't the only ones who suffer when refunds go unclaimed. Local economies don't benefit, since these dollars are never spent at local businesses. So fewer jobs are created, fewer wages are paid, and eventually less tax revenue comes back to state and local governments. These refunds are a foregone economic stimulus for California.

Researchers and those that work on the front lines helping Californians claim these dollars came together in Sacramento for the unveiling of new research that, for the first time, estimates the great cost of these unclaimed refunds to California. More than 100 policymakers, staff, and community members learned about the economic impact of EITC dollars, county by county-and for the state overall: the report estimates a total foregone impact of more than $1 billion. Panelists discussed innovative efforts to help more Californians claim their hard-earned refunds, take advantage of other under-used resources, and how you can get involved. John Wancheck shared the national perspective on what's happening in other states and in Washington, D.C. to ensure more Americans claim their refunds.

Co-sponsored by the California Latino Legislative Caucus and the New America Foundation.


Opening Remarks
Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles)

Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge)

Featured Speakers
Antonio Avalos and Sean Alley
Assistant Professors of Economics, California State University, Fresno
Co-authors of the report, Left on the Table

Kelly Batson
Regional Director, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!
United Way of the Bay Area

Maricela Rodriguez
Director of Program Development
Office of California First Lady Maria Shriver and WE Connect

John Wancheck
Coordinator, Earned Income Tax Credit Outreach Campaign
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Anne Stuhldreher
Senior Fellow
California Asset Building Program, New America Foundation