Amidst the Tax Day groans across the South and country this week, there was one piece of good news for low-income taxpayers: this year, four states -- including Louisiana and North Carolina -- started giving an Earned Income Tax Credit.

As reports:

Washington state, New Mexico, North Carolina and Louisiana this year joined 20 other states in offering so-called Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) programs - an initiative patterned after a successful federal tax credit program for the poor launched in the mid-1970s that gives federal taxes back to low-income taxpayers.

On the downside, Louisiana and North Carolina -- the only two Southern states to offer the EITC, aside from Virginia -- offer the least relief in the nation:

State EITC rates vary widely, ranging from a low of 3.5 percent of the federal credit in North Carolina and Louisiana to a high of 35 percent in the District of Columbia, 32 percent in Vermont, 30 percent in New York and 25 percent in Maryland and Rhode Island.

Experts also note that the addition of Washington state -- which doesn't have an income tax -- could open the door for states like Florida, Tennessee and Texas, which also don't have an income tax.