Tuesday, December 3, 2013

By Derek Thomas

This week - as a state co-lead organization of the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network the Institute has been fortunate to participate in the A&O Network Leadership Convening in Washington D.C. Along with the opportunity to learn more about asset-building issues, we're thankful for the time Representative Walorski, Senator Donnelly and Senator Coats have set aside for us to discuss the federal policy agenda (below) to compliment the Institute's state-based policy efforts.

It's easy for you to assist our advocacy efforts. Just click on the title of any legislation below
 to call that particular representative "with the click of a button" via govtrack.us

1 - Urge Congress to Lift SSI Asset Limit Tests & Defend State Flexibility
Representative Walorski, Senator Donnelly and Senator Coats: 
  • Please protect millions of working families, children, vets and seniors who need SNAP and state's rights to waive asset tests. Please share your support with the Farm Bill conferees. 

2 - Expand and Protect Tax Incentives for Low and Moderate Income Families
Representative Walorski:
Senator Donnelly:
  • Please Cosponsor the Working Families Tax Relief Act (S. 836, Sen. Brown) - strengthen the earned income tax credit and make permanent certain tax provisions under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
    • Combined, this legislation and the Earned Income Tax Improvement and Simplification Act, could lift "more than 300,000 childless workers out of poverty, and significantly reduce the severity of poverty for almost four million more workers...could help meet challenges faced particularly by younger, less-educated people...including low labor force participation rates, low marriage rates, and even high incarceration rates." Economic Policy Institute - The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit

3 - Urge Congress to Re-Authorize and Improve the Assets for Independence Act
Representative Walorski:
  • Please Cosponsor American Dreams Act (H.R. 2155, Rep. Fattah) - would support child savings accounts and financial education for low-income students, throughout the country.
    • "The increasing interest in college savings accounts is an acknowledgment of today’s reality: College is indisputably a ticket up the economic ladder, but the soaring cost makes it out of reach for more and more families. According to the Brookings Institution and the Pew Economic Mobility Project, barely one in three children from the poorest fifth of families enrolls in college, and only about one in 10 graduates. By comparison, among the wealthiest fifth of families, four in five children go to college, and more than half (53 percent) graduate. Children’s savings programs, which have the potential to offer big returns on relatively small investments, are a response with bipartisan appeal."
      CFED - The Inclusive Economy (Op Ed via Politico)
Senator Coats:
  • Please work with Senator Merkley to develop a bipartisan reauthorization of the Assets and Independence program. 
    • Indiana's IDA program has shown that with the right incentives, low-income families can successfully build wealth. The aforementioned support would remove the federal red-tape that currently prohibits additional success: IIWF IDA Policy Brief 
Senator Donnelly and Senator Coats:
  • Please Cosponsor American Savings Promotion Act (S. 918, Sen. Coons and Sen. Rubio) - would remove barriers that prevent Prize Linked Savings products from spreading around the country.
    • "Due to outdated federal regulations, banks and federally chartered financial institutions are unable to offer prize-linked savings accounts," says Kilmer. His American Savings Promotion Act would remove that regulatory barrier. ABC News - Here's a Lottery You Cannot Lose.
  • Please Cosponsor American Dreams Act (S. 1597, Sen. Moran and Sen. Brown) - would support child savings accounts and financial education for low-income students, throughout the country.
    • "The increasing interest in college savings accounts is an acknowledgment of today’s reality: College is indisputably a ticket up the economic ladder, but the soaring cost makes it out of reach for more and more families. According to the Brookings Institution and the Pew Economic Mobility Project, barely one in three children from the poorest fifth of families enrolls in college, and only about one in 10 graduates. By comparison, among the wealthiest fifth of families, four in five children go to college, and more than half (53 percent) graduate. Children’s savings programs, which have the potential to offer big returns on relatively small investments, are a response with bipartisan appeal." CFED - The Inclusive Economy (Op Ed via Politico)

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