Could a small change in a federal tax credit significantly reduce people’s need for predatory payday loans?
That’s the hope of a new tax bill introduced Wednesday by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Ro Khanna. Their topline idea is to massively expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which gives low- and moderate-income Americans a subsidy for working. Most attention will focus on the cost of the legislation, which could run near $1 trillion over 10 years, although an exact estimate isn’t available. But buried within the bill is a small change that could have big ramifications for the payday loan industry, which covers short-term financial needs by charging very high interest rates.