Cash Tax Credits for Californians

Our campaigns put cash directly in Californian's pockets.

Vision

Vision

California – home to one in eight Americans – is a place of opportunity, innovation, hard work – and of rest, and recreation. It is a place of natural abundance,  where everyone should have what they need, and be able to build what they want. That’s what the California Dream means to us.

We’re working to make the California Dream a reality for everyone in this state, by fighting corporate concentration that stifles opportunity, harms workers, and disadvantages consumers; and by putting money into the pockets of people who need it, through a guaranteed income and targeted tax credits. These cash programs provide people with the stability and freedom to make their own choices and address their own needs.  They are powerful, practical tools that allow people to have agency in their own lives.    

Challenge

Challenge

Right now, the California Dream is out of reach for too many. From stubbornly high housing prices and child care costs, to rising gas and food prices, Californians are often forced to struggle to meet their daily needs.

59%

Percentage households of color make up California households

73%

Percentage of households of color living on the edge of economic insecurity

Corporate consolidation has made necessities like gas and insulin punishingly expensive. And California is home to some of the most expensive places in the country to give birth, thanks to consolidation in the healthcare industry. 

A single parent with two kids in the Bay Area would need to earn $74 an hour just to pay for child care and cover household expenses. Californians of color are hit the hardest. Black, Native, and Latinx families–even those without children–are more likely to face financial hardship than white households with children. 

We can do better.  

What We Do

What We Do

We fight for bold ideas such as getting unrestricted cash to Californians through existing mechanisms like our tax code, and through new mechanisms such as a guaranteed income. We collaborate with allies and nurture activists in support of an expanded support system that puts the burden on the government to deliver, rather than on the individual to prove deservedness; that flexes in response to need, instead of pretending that one size fits all; and that leverages existing supports to create true economic stability and predictability, rather than forcing people to fight to stay just above water. We prioritize access and equity, because even the best, most inclusive policies fail if they don’t actually reach the people who need them the most. 

Our goal is a state tax credit system that is generous in value, inclusive in eligibility and modern in administration. We want to see California pick up where federal tax credits leave off, so that Californians can rely on direct cash payments when they need financial support. 

We also want Californians to have the stability of a guaranteed income, so we’re fighting to expand the existing state  Guaranteed Income Pilot Program. We focus on populations that are left out of existing support systems, like high school graduates experiencing homelessness, who need stability to get through the summer to college or a career.  

Ultimately, we want to make a guaranteed income a permanent policy–because people know best how to use the money to make their lives better.

Impact

Impact

We fought to expand the  California Earned Income Tax Credit, tripling its size. Thanks in part to our efforts, the credit now covers workers up to full-time minimum wage, targeting the lowest earners. It also includes a new $1,000 Young Child Tax Credit for households with children under age 6, with no earnings requirement. The Young Child Tax Credit is effectively a guaranteed income for young children that recognizes the value of unpaid caregiving.  We also ensured these credits are inclusive – available to immigrant and mixed-status households with taxpayers with ITINs–and protected from debt interception so people can keep the credits they earn.   

We are pushing to streamline and simplify the tax filing system, to leverage data the government already has, and to put the burden on the government to send out tax credits automatically – as we saw with stimulus checks and the federal Child Tax Credit. We want tax credits and other direct cash payments to get to all the people who are eligible for them. 

People

People

Teri Olle

Director of Economic Security California

Mona Masri

California Director of Strategic Initiatives

Kelli Smith

Campaigns Research Director

Bio