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Published: Saturday, 8/5/2006

Konop, Sarantou argue over tax credit

The two candidates for Lucas County commissioner sparred again yesterday over the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which gives payments to families with incomes below $37,000.

Democrat Ben Konop has proposed a partnership between government and businesses to encourage people who might qualify for the EITC to get assistance in filing their taxes, estimating that $6 million could be salvaged for county residents.

Toledo Councilman George Sarantou, a Republican, rejected the idea as a "new county bureaucracy" because, he said, the Internal Revenue Service automatically scans tax forms and notifies people who qualify.

Mr. Konop asked Mr. Sarantou to retract those statements, claiming they are "flat wrong."

The IRS requires additional tax forms beyond the standard 1040 to determine if someone qualifies for the EITC and does send out a million notices a year to people who could qualify, an IRS spokesman said yesterday.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas notes on its Web site that 15 percent to 25 percent of eligible workers do not claim the EITC each year.

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