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Sen. Booker: Eligible Citizens Aren’t Applying for Earned Income Tax Credit

3-19-14

Sen. Cory Booker is pushing to expand the tax credit for working families. Booker told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that about a quarter of the people who are eligible to receive earned income tax credit money are not receiving it because they are not applying.

Booker said that through the earned income tax credit, working New Jerseyans get money back on their taxes. Residents get more than $1 billion back through that one federal program alone but the state is leaving money on the table. He said that as a mayor, he was a huge proponent in expanding free tax centers all throughout the city of Newark and there are free tax centers all over the state, but many people don’t know about them. At these free tax centers, there are well trained people to help prepare taxes for free. Booker said they are also very good about identifying the resources that residents should be getting back.

“This is going to be a big push of mine here in the state and turning up the volume letting people know we have hundreds of millions of dollars that working class people should be getting back, but also in Washington D.C. I am pushing hard to expand the earned income tax credit to give more people breaks from high taxes as well as making it permanent. I believe we need to make work pay. Those people who are playing by the rules and working hard, we need to do everything we can to support them in getting jobs, holding jobs and getting more money back from the federal government,” said Booker.

When asked about the Ukraine, Booker said that New Jersey is one of the states with the highest Ukrainian population in America and they are passionate about their concern for Ukraine and its territorial integrity.

“You know that we need to be doing everything that we can and New Jersey is lucky Sen. Robert Menendez is the head of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is working with me and other people about making sure that the Senate speaks up and that we support Ukraine and that means everything from loan guarantees to doing stronger sanctions. This could be a lot of work being done next week to make sure that the U.S. is joining with the international community and showing that we cannot tolerate people violating the territorial integrity of a country like Ukraine,” Booker said.

He said that he needs to be prudent about this and be strong and tough but at the same time be wise in how the government is going about the situation.

“I understand that visceral reaction that many of us want to have when you see a bully barreling into another country or at least threatening their territorial integrity. We have to do this right and strategically. We have got to use wisdom to make sure that we are pushing in the right way to get the results that we want and we don’t get pulled into something that can devolve into something that we don’t want,” said Booker. “We have a very united United States right now in terms of Democrats and Republicans wanting to make sure we are giving the appropriate response in the face of what is going on here and do it in coordination with our European allies.”

When asked about Sandy aid, Booker said that he doesn’t think that the people of New Jersey sent him down to Washington D.C. to throw grenades, they sent him down there to work with other people, to bring back resources for the state and so he is in the trenches right now trying to make sure that he is protecting the Sandy aid that still is coming to the Garden State. He said that he is also making sure that it is used appropriately.

“We have had a number of hearings including one last week that Menendez led to make sure that money is getting to the residents of this state and then making sure that we are strategically planning for the future because these 100-year storms as we are seeing are coming a lot more rapidly. I want to make sure that we still, like a hawk, are watching the resources and making sure they are coming to the state and making sure they are being spent wisely,” said Booker. “I’ve already found out that it’s not just FEMA, it’s HUD, a lot of the federal agencies. We have got to make sure that we are holding them accountable so I’m in contact with FEMA, HUD, the EPA to make sure that I am doing everything I can to build those bridges so those resources come to our state and are used appropriately.”