WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Across the state, United Ways are advocating for a tax relief program that will help lower and middle class households.

United Way is pushing for an earned income tax credit. Through a recent study they found that many households are still in need of financial support and a program that gives taxpayers more refunds is a win-win for everyone.

“We have launched this push now because, yes, we believe it is the right time coming out of COVID and it’s going to help our economy emerge,” United Way of Pennsylvania President Kristen Rotz said.

The United Way recently unveiled an economic impact report showing the benefits of adopting a new income tax credit, instead of a flat tax. This program is already in place in 28 states.

“If we provide a little bit of relief to our low- and middle-income working families in our state in the form of a refundable state earned income tax credit,” Rotz said.

This would not only benefit those families, but also reduce spending for social services in the state’s budget. United Way is working with PA lawmakers and the governor’s office with the hopes of getting it passed.

“We’re really pushing for this to be resolved in the context of the state budget this year so in the weeks and months to come we think this is actionable prior to the end of June,” Rotz said.

In Lycoming County, 14 percent of households are eligible for the earned income tax credit. Ron Frick, president of Lycoming County United Way says the pandemic continues to be a financial struggle for many.

“It’s been a hard few years for sure, and so anything that we can do to assist people to pull themselves out of that either below the poverty line or even folks just struggling above the poverty line that need services that they didn’t need before COVID,” Frick said.

This is an investment for the state, but United Way explains that putting this money back into taxpayers’ pockets will have them spending more, thus improving local economies.