U.S. Poverty Town Hall Questions

Town Hall Questions for Fall 2014 Congressional Recesses and Candidate Events

HELP FAMILIES EARN WHAT THEY NEED BY PROTECTING AND STRENGTHENING THE EITC AND CTC

Recent poverty data shows that economic insecurity is a reality for far too many low-income families in today’s America, with over 45 million Americans, many of them children, living in poverty in 2013 [quickly share 1-2 sentences about your own experience if you can or 2013 state poverty data here]. Fortunately, there are tools at our disposal that can help. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) provide vital financial resources to families with children; in 2012 alone, they lifted 10 million people out of poverty. But important improvements to the EITC and CTC are set to expire in 2017, which would force children and families into deeper financial distress. In addition, low-income workers without children receive a very small EITC (less than $500 maximum), which makes it harder and harder for them to get out of poverty.

Current House Member Request: Will you speak with House leader and urge them to protect and strengthen progressivity in the tax code by making expiring EITC and CTC provisions permanent and increasing the EITC for workers without children? Specifically, I urge you to support H.R. 769 (House CTC legislation) and H.R. 2116 (House EITC legislation). 

Current Senate Member Request: Will you talk to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and urge them to strengthen progressivity in the tax code by making the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent and increasing the EITC for workers without children? Specifically, I urge you to support S. 836, a Senate bill that protects and expands both the Child Tax Credit and the EITC. 

Congressional Candidate Request: If you win in November, will you work with congressional tax leaders to protect and strengthen progressivity in the tax code by making expiring EITC and CTC provisions permanent and increasing the EITC for workers without children?

Note: in follow up with the office, urge current members of Congress to talk to: House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI-9)//Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) about the EITC and CTC.

HELP FAMILIES SAVE FOR THE FUTURE

According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, 44 percent of American households don’t have enough savings to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income [quickly share 1-2 sentences about your own experience if you can]. This means that millions of Americans are just one job loss or one medical crisis away from financial disaster. The Financial Security Credit uses tax time to help people build emergency savings. Low-income taxpayers could choose to deposit all or part of their tax refund into an eligible savings product by simply checking a box on their tax return. And to encourage their participation, after eight months they would get a 50 cent match for every dollar they save, up to $500 per year. A similar pilot program called SaveUSA has shown that this idea works.

Current House Member Request: Will you co-sponsor H.R. 2917, the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013, and speak with key House leaders to urge inclusion of the Financial Security Credit in upcoming tax reform legislation?

Current Senate Member Request: Will you speak with key Senate leaders about the Financial Security Credit and including it in upcoming tax reform legislation?

Congressional Candidate Request: If you win in November, will you educate congressional tax leaders about the Financial Security Credit and work with them to include it in upcoming tax reform legislation?

Note: in follow up with current members of Congress, urge them to talk to House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI-9)//Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) about the FSC.

For more information on preparing for a town hall or public meeting, see our Activist Milestone: Asking a Question at a Town Hall.