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Earned income tax credit should be funded with a tax on businesses

A week or two ago a small businessman wrote against raising the Maryland minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years (“I am a longtime business owner and $15 wage 'scares me to death' (“I am a longtime business owner and $15 wage 'scares me to death',” Mar. 5). I found that opinion piece to be very one-sided in defense of small businesses, but mum on the situation of the much more numerous Marylanders earning a minimum wage struggling to survive in poverty, near poverty and living paycheck-to-paycheck.

A few days ago, another opinion piece appeared in The Sun arguing against raising the minimum wage. This piece was based on a "strawman" argument, in my opinion, that according to a debatable study raising the minimum wage won't solve Baltimore's crime problem, and may even raise the city's crime rate (“Raising minimum wage won't solve Baltimore's crime problems,” Mar. 19).

What I found most interesting about this person's argument against increasing the minimum wage, was his alternative solution to low wages — increase the general tax funded earned income tax credit available to low income earners. Thereby, having the general public make up with their taxes for private businesses not paying living wages.

I do not have a problem with raising the earned income tax credit to help ameliorate the wide spread low income problem in this country if the business community from which it emanates paid for this solution with direct taxes on them. This way the general public, including the very low wage earners intended to be helped, would not be saddled with bearing the burden of off setting non livable low wages over which they have no control.

I would propose that the recommended increase in the earned income tax credit or any other government social safety net program that supports low wage earners be funded through a tax on businesses whose human resources practices result in low wages — case in point Walmart, whose low wage practices support its low cost sales model, necessitating government social safety net programs.

In this way, a major down side of our capitalist business model would not be shifted to individual tax payers to support. Let the capitalists pay for the government programs their business practices necessitate. Finally, I do recognize that if the general populace supports low wage business practices, then their taxes should go toward paying the cost of this low wage regimen.

Joseph Costa, Baltimore

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