Tell Lawmakers: Send low-wage workers cash now.

Oregon’s low-wage workers were already having a hard time making ends meet before the COVID-19 emergency. Now, huge corporations with record profits hiking their prices to pad their pockets and pandemic induced supply chain disruptions are increasing the cost of everyday essentials. Inflation is hitting families paid low wages especially hard, making it more difficult to afford basic necessities. These workers need support.

Tell lawmakers to advance economic justice: Send low-wage workers cash now.

Oregon needs to step up and support the low-wage workers struggling most to make ends meet. The simplest and most effective solution is to give people money, as proposed by House Bill 4157. These payments would rapidly send $600 to households who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on their 2020 taxes. Lawmakers must also ensure ALL struggling workers receive payments by investing in the Oregon Worker Relief Fund.

Direct payments are a proven way to help families meet their needs. Studies of the recent federal stimulus payments – similar to those in HB 4157 — indicate that households use the funds to pay for essentials such as food, housing, or to pay down debt. With more money, households experienced reduced levels of anxiety and depression — an effect with long-term benefits, especially for children.

Oregon’s economy is likely to benefit as well. Families who have received similar payments tend to spend them quickly at local businesses, as they make purchases to meet their basic needs. This spending generates more economic activity, as local businesses use EITC dollars to purchase goods and services needed to run their operations and pay employees, who in turn spend their earnings.

Lawmakers must also ensure that ALL low-wage workers receive these payments. Recognizing an inequity in the EITC, the Oregon legislature extended the tax credit to some low-income immigrant workers previously excluded from the EITC. But this legislation won’t go into effect until tax year 2022. These workers will fall through the cracks and won’t receive this payment, unless lawmakers act. Lawmakers should invest in the Oregon Worker Relief Fund to reach these immigrant workers and their families.

Advancing HB 4157 with an additional investment in the Oregon Worker Relief Fund will help the Oregon economy, local businesses, but most importantly, our hard-working neighbors in greatest need.

Contact your lawmakers today to tell them to support HB 4157 and send ALL low-wage workers cash now!