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Bill that proposes $600 payments for low-income workers advances in Oregon legislature

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via Pexels

A new bill moving through the Oregon legislature would give low-income workers a $600 one-time payment.

House Bill 4157 would support the more than 240,000 low-income workers in Oregon who claimed the earned income tax credit in 2020. Direct cash allows for flexibility for families, says Matt Newell-Ching with the Oregon Food Bank.

"What we know is that families are in the best position to decide for themselves what the most important needs are," says Newell-Ching.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Andrea Valderrama, D-East Portland.

“The payment will help to address the rising cost of living and help working families and individuals with basic necessities like childcare, rent, groceries, and prescriptions,” Valderrama says.

The payments would have the biggest effects in Eastern and Southern Oregon, where the largest percentage of workers have claimed the tax credit.

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Oregon House Committee on Rules presentation

“We see in Klamath County, nearly one in five community members in Klamath County qualified and received the earned income tax credit in 2020, whereas in Multnomah [and] Washington County it was around on in ten,” says Newell-Ching.

The legislation passed out of the House on Wednesday. It will next be considered by the state Senate.

If it passes, payments are expected to be made by direct deposit or by check, by July 31, 2022.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.