Also: Cities rise in influence and power, and mapping where pollution hurts children most.

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What We’re Following

Tax-onomy: For the millions of Americans who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit each year, April 15 is just another day. Taxpayers who depend on it are often the first to file in January, because the return isn’t merely a bonus for them. With an average refund of $2,488 last year, the EITC functions as an important, if unsung, part of the social safety net, often covering household spending on utilities, food, and other essentials.

Now, progressives are eyeing ways to expand who’s eligible and even set it up as a monthly refund, rather than an annual one. Presidential candidates like Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have thrown their support behind the idea, while Senator Sherrod Brown has a bill that would expand its scope to 45 million households. One proponent of the monthly tax credit thinks it could become a Democratic Party litmus test on par with the $15 an hour minimum wage. CityLab’s Kriston Capps has the story on The Progressives Making the Case for Monthly Tax Refunds.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Cities Are Rising in Influence and Power on the Global Stage

Cities are challenging their invisibility in global governance structures, like the United Nations, by forging new alliances to influence international policy.

Chrystie Flournoy Swiney and Sheila Foster

The Utter Inadequacy of America’s Efforts to Desegregate Schools

In 1966, a group of Boston-area parents and administrators created a busing program called METCO to help desegregate schools. They thought of it as a quick fix to a passing problem. But the problem hasn’t passed, and METCO isn’t enough to fix it.

Alana Semuels

Mission 66 and the Transformation of the National Park Service

The post-New Deal strategy succeeded in bringing cherished public places into the modern era.

Meghan White

Mapping Where Traffic Pollution Hurts Children Most

Research shows that traffic-related air pollution is behind nearly one in five childhood asthma cases.

Haneen Khreis

No Wonder Donald Trump Didn’t Like Mount Vernon

Why did George Washington’s house leave the current president so unimpressed? Maybe because this practical-minded mansion was made to convey humility.

Leigh Giangreco


Story Time in Baltimore

(Baltimore Museum of Industry)

Join us on Thursday, May 16 for a live event in Baltimore, Maryland. CityLab is partnering with the local storytelling series “The Stoop” and the Baltimore Museum of Industry on an event called “Workin’ It: Stories About Making a Living.” The evening will feature personal tales told live on stage about what we all do to earn a paycheck.

Got a story to share? If you’re in the Mid-Atlantic area, submit it for consideration here. Either way, we hope you’ll join us and invite your friends for stories, food trucks, and live bluegrass. Purchase tickets here, and use the discount code CITYLAB to save $5.


What We’re Reading

Are these Great Lakes cities “climate-proof?” (New York Times)

Lyft pulls e-bikes from New York, San Francisco, and D.C. for braking malfunctions (The Verge)

The urban farming “revolution” has a fatal flaw (Quartz)

What happened when Pete Buttigieg tore down houses in black and Latino South Bend (BuzzFeed News)

History department: Amazon’s D.C. move threatens the founder’s vision for America (Politico Magazine)


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