March 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Urge People to Join RESULTS’ Efforts to Enact the Saver’s Bonus

As we focus this month’s action on doing outreach to others in our community around the release of To Catch a Dollar, draft your own laser talk that highlights the importance of asset development in the fight against poverty and urge people to get involved. Here is an example:

Introduction: I am a RESULTS volunteer working to end poverty in the United States and one of the surest ways out of poverty is to help low-income individuals and families build up savings and wealth.

Engage: We should be doing more to promote asset building as a society. It not only provides financial security to families, it also improves household stability, helps people look more toward the future, and helps reduce intergenerational poverty. For me personally, I feel safer knowing that I have some savings.

Problem: Unfortunately, not everyone has that peace of mind. While the tax code promotes asset building through tax deductions on mortgage interest and property taxes, as well as lower rates on capital gains, only 3 percent of the benefits go to the bottom 60 percent of households.

Inform: However, there is a creative and unique way to help low-income people build savings. It’s called the Saver’s Bonus. As you may know, tax time is when low-income working people usually receive their largest check of the year (because of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit). With the Saver’s Bonus, low-income tax filers would be able to deposit all or part of their refund into a savings account right from their tax return. And to encourage participation, these deposits would be matched up to $500 per year. This type of program has already shown great success in New York City.

Call people to action: Making it easier for people to save their tax refunds just makes sense. And an idea like this can really get off the ground if we start talking to our members of Congress about it. I urge you to join our efforts to make the Savor’s Bonus a reality. With your help, we can make it happen. As Thomas Jefferson said “we in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Thank you for your time and here is how you can get involved with RESULTS here locally. . . .

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk.