State Controller Betty Yee, center, along with Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, far left, getting the word out about the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit that could help 1.5 million low-earning Californians. 
Speaker Atkins, Controller Yee and Joseph
Sanberg of CalEITC4Me.

CADEM16 | The California Democratic Party kicked off its convention this weekend with an eye on the economically weakest among us.

For the first time an Earned Income Tax Credit is available for those earning below $13,870 a year and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins wants those to know thousands of dollars could be available for up to 1.5 million people in the state.

“I believe this is about values and values say, expand in a way that says no person who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty and I know what that means,” said Atkins.

Between the federal earned income credits available to taxpayers, the addition of the state’s version could be an extra $8,500 in the pockets of wage earners struggling to make ends meet, said Atkins.

However, getting out the word is paramount, said Atkins, after $380 million in funding for the earned income credit was included in last year’s May budget revise.

More than 116,000 residents have already been paid claims by the state, said Controller Betty Yee, whose signature adorns each check.

And because low-wage earners typically use the additional cash for goods and services instead of saving it, small businesses and the community also benefit, said Atkins. “This is money that goes right back into the streets,” she said. “This is a win, win, win.”