As CEO of Community Concepts, which provides housing and economic development supports and social services for people in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, I commend Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for their recent efforts to preserve access to taxpayer preparation services in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area.

The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are critical to working families. Together, these credits are among the nation’s strongest tools to promote work and help working families escape poverty and become self-sufficient — core to Community Concepts’ strategic direction to assist people from falling into poverty and help them climb out quickly when they do.

Taxpayer assistance and sites that provide help with tax filing are critical for those with limited reading skills, who may not have access to the Internet or computers, or have limited English proficiency. Oftentimes, taxpayers don’t know the tax benefits they are eligible for, and those services help bridge that gap.

We thank Sens. Collins and King and encourage them to continue their good work on behalf of Maine taxpayers and lead the effort this year to ensure Congress makes permanent key provisions of the EITC and the CTC before they expire, and fixes the hole in the EITC for childless workers who are susceptible to falling deeper into poverty. If allowed to expire, 37,000 working families in Maine, with 64,000 children, will lose some or all of their credits.

The time to act is now.

Shawn Yardley, CEO

Community Concepts, Lewiston

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