Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Angie Drobnic Holan
By Angie Drobnic Holan August 25, 2008

Obama sponsored earned income tax credit

Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Aug. 25, 2008, dwelling largely on a personal portrait of her home life with Barack Obama and her upbringing in a working-class family on Chicago's South Side.

She concluded her speech with a call to civic duty.

"I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation. It's a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life's work. ...

"It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard-working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work."

Here, we'll look at a claim we checked previously , that Obama won "tax cuts for hard-working families."

Featured Fact-check

In 2000, the Illinois legislature created a state earned income tax credit, based on the federal earned income tax program, which is a tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. The program is meant "to offset the burden of Social Security taxes and to provide an incentive to work," according to the Internal Revenue Service.

In the federal version, when the tax credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who qualify. In the Illinois bill that Obama co-sponsored, state taxes can go to zero, but there is no additional refund.

In the 2000 legislation, the legislative record shows that Obama was one of more than 40 senators who co-sponsored the bill, with most of them signing up for it on the same day.

But the bill had a sunset clause, and when it came time to renew it in 2003, Obama filed the bill and was its chief sponsor. Another 20 senators signed on to co-sponsor it. Rather than renewing it for another few years, the Obama bill made the state earned income tax credit permanent, and it allowed for a refund if state funds were available.

The record shows Obama was a minor co-sponsor in cutting taxes in 2000 and was the leader in the state Senate in 2003 in making the tax credits permanent. It takes more than one person to pass a bill, and although he played a significant role in making the tax credits permanent, the record on Obama's statement supports only a Mostly True.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Angie Drobnic Holan

Obama sponsored earned income tax credit

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up