September 2015 U.S. Poverty Action
Use “Poverty Day” to Urge Congress to Save Key EITC and CTC Provisions
On September 16, the Census Bureau released its latest income and poverty data, showing that one in seven Americans and one in five American children still live below the federal poverty line (just over $24,000 for a family of four). The poverty rate in the United States was 14.8 percent in 2014, 46.7 million Americans, not statistically significant than 2013. The child poverty rate in 2014 was 21.1 percent, also not a statistically significant change. Meanwhile, Congress will consider tax legislation in the coming months, and they must prioritize saving key important provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). This month we’ll focus on generating media about the need to address poverty in America and why policymakers should support specific tax policies to protect and expand the EITC and CTC to shape upcoming policy debates. While one person in your contacts a local editorial writer or editor at your local paper, urging them to write a piece linking the poverty data to tax policy decisions in Washington, everyone else will submit an op-ed to additional media outlets.
Steps to Generate Media Linking New Poverty Data to EITC/CTC
Here are the steps you can take to generate media in your local newspaper:
Note: To find contact information for media outlets in your area, including telephone numbers and addresses, visit our Media Guide at http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/media/. In addition, see our Activist Toolkit pieces on generating an editorial in your local paper. If others in your RESULTS group are taking the lead in generating editorials, we urge you to use these talking points to submit an op-ed or write a letter to the editor (you can use our template) to your local papers. Use our sample op-ed to get yourself started and don't heistate to contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for questions or assistance. Be sure to send your published pieces to your members of Congress!
Media Work This Month Can Have Huge Influence on Tax Debate
Media outlets across the country are covering the release of the new Census poverty data, giving us a chance to connect the dots between policy decisions and the struggles of people in our community. This is a chance to urge policymakers to take the first step by saving key provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) this fall. These are some of the country’s most effective anti-poverty strategies – the Census’s Supplemental Poverty Measure showed these pro-work tax credits helped to move 9.8 million Americans out of poverty in 2014. In addition, the Census Bureau found that SNAP, formerly “Food Stamps,” lifted 4.7 million Americans above the poverty line last year, and 8.8 million fewer Americans are uninsured in 2014 versus 2013. Clearly, smart anti-poverty policies can make a difference, but we need to renew the pressure on policymakers to do the right thing. With Congress working on tax legislation RIGHT NOW, let’s use this opportunity to urge policymakers to save key EITC and CTC provisions. The EITC and CTC moved 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2013, including 5 million children. If Congress doesn’t act, 16 million people, including 8 million children, will slip into poverty or deeper into poverty.
Our best opportunity to save key EITC and CTC provisions this year is in a bigger tax package, which may be combined with a highway funding deal. In early September, the Department of Transportation announced that current highway funding will last into 2016, but House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell want a multi-year highway bill completed this year. Meanwhile, Congress will expected to extend expiring business tax provisions for two years (the so-called “tax extenders’) and some in the Senate and House (including Rep. Paul Ryan) want to make some of business breaks permanent. If and when they proposed a permanent extension of ANY business tax credit, we must respond swiftly by pushing for “parity” with EITC/CTC (i.e. Congress cannot do one without the other).