Kalitha Williams from Policy Matters Ohio, Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood), Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) talk about the plan to make the earned income tax credit or EITC non refundable. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]

Democrats Try Again For Tax Credit For Low-Income Ohioans

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With debate over increasing the gas tax and adding another income tax cut in the next budget, Democratic lawmakers and anti-poverty advocates are trying again what they’ve pushed for years – changes to a tax credit aimed at low-income working Ohioans.

Ohio is one of six states with a non refundable earned income tax credit, which can only zero out tax liability and can’t create a tax refund.  House Democrats want to erase the income cap and make the credit refundable.

Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) said it can be paid for with unspent money in the general revenue fund.

And there’s the deduction created in 2013 that allows small businesses to take the first quarter million dollars of their incomes tax free. “That costs us about a billion dollars a year. And there is an opportunity for us to revisit that,” Sykes said.

It’s estimated nearly a million low-income Ohioans could take the changed EITC at a cost of $250 million, which Democrats say is far less than breaks given to wealthy Ohioans and businesses. Last year the EITC cost the state $40 million.