U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 4, 2014
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
Join us this Saturday for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. On this month’s call, we’re pleased to have two very special guest speakers. Scott Miller is the CEO of Circles USA, which is a national chapter-based organization with an “action plan that brings together the best efforts and resources of individuals, organizations, communities, and government in a program proven to raise people out of poverty.” LaNae Havens is a Circles leader in Albuquerque and is also one of the founding members of the new RESULTS Albuquerque U.S. Poverty group. Both Scott and LaNae will share about the experiences with Circles and how RESULTS and Circles are working to expand their partnership to improve policy affecting low-income Americans. This will be a great call to learn more about the face of poverty in America and how we can work together to empower more voices in this work. We will also spend time discussing the March Action and celebrate our media successes from February.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, March 8 at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call. We will have the March 2014 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. You will find them on the RESULTS Home Page in the “Take Action” box in the top right-hand corner.
Got Ten Minutes? Help Educate Lawmakers about the Financial Security Credit (March Action)
In February, you did an excellent job of using the media to lay the groundwork for our 2014 focus on expanding economic mobility in America. You outlined in broad strokes the three components of our campaign this year – earn what you need, stay on your feet, and save for the future. This month, we get specific by focusing on saving for the future.
Building savings and assets must be an integral part of any effort to end poverty. It’s not enough for people to lift themselves out of poverty one day if they risk falling back in the next. Asset building takes the long view and answers the question: “How do we keep people out of poverty?” When a person or family has money in the bank, or a house to live in, or an education to fall back on, not only are they more financially secure, their view of the world changes. They are no longer consumed with the crisis of right now – how will I pay the rent, feed my children, get to work – and can think more clearly and more long-term.
To help increase low-income asset building, RESULTS supports an innovative idea called the Financial Security Credit (FSC). The concept is simple – if you make it easy and worthwhile to save, people will do it. Typically, low-income Americans get their largest checks of the year at tax time because of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Therefore, why not use this opportune moment in to encourage saving? The FSC would allow people to deposit all or part of their tax refund into an existing or new eligible savings product right on their tax return. If they maintain the deposit for at least eight months, they would receive a 50 cent match for each dollar saved, up to $500 per year. It’s a simple idea but it makes sense. A similar program called SaveUSA has shown that it can work.
Now, we know that the Financial Security Credit is not a panacea. This alone will not end poverty in American. But think of what an extra $200 or $500 or $2,000 in the bank could do for low-income families. You can get the car fixed so you can get to work. You can pay the rent and not worry about being evicted.. You can save a little for your child’s education. But most of all, you can sleep just a little better at night knowing that if the rug gets pulled out from under you, there’s something there to cushion the fall. Don’t we all deserve the opportunity to create that kind of financial security?
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to take the March Action. Write letters to your senators and representative urging them to support policies that help low-income Americans build savings and assets. Tell them about the Financial Security Credit and urge them to talk to tax leaders about including it in any new tax legislation. For House members, you can urge them to co-sponsor the H.R.2917, the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013, to help build support for this important idea. The March Action has talking points and background information to help you.
We’ll have more about the March Action and the Financial Security Credit on our March U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this Saturday, March 8 at 12:30 pm ET.
Got Twenty Minutes? It’s Not Too Late to Send in Your Op-Ed (February Action)
RESULTS volunteers get things done. And 2014 is no different, especially when it comes to media. So far this year, you – our volunteers – have gotten 28 media pieces published! (19 letters to the editor and 9 op-eds). And one third of those successes have some in the last two weeks! Here they are:
Considering the difficulty in getting op-eds published, this is fantastic. And we know you’re not done. A number of you did not submit your op-eds until late in the month so we expect more to come in. Thank you to everyone who took the February U.S. Poverty Action by submitting an op-ed about expanding economic mobility in America and congratulations to all our volunteers who got (or will get) published.
If you have not submitted your op-ed this month, it’s not too late. There’s even some new hooks you can use. Yesterday, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) released a report, “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later,” which basically questions the effectiveness of many anti-poverty programs. It’s expected that he will use this report to announce major changes to social safety net programs in his House Republican Budget proposal later this month. This new report, the upcoming House budget, as well as a new tax plan and the release of President Obama’s budget, are all timely and excellent hooks for an op-ed.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to add your name to the list above by finalizing and submitting your op-ed. It’s not too late to send one in. If you did submit your op-ed and it was not picked up, call the paper and ask what would changes could you make to increase your chances of getting published (e.g. change the hook, get a co-author, include other statistics). If you’re striking out with one paper, send it to another outlet. Finally, if you’re pressed for time, contact the paper that rejected your op-ed and ask if you can shorten it to a letter to the editor.
Remember, the February Action provides you talking points, background information, and a sample op-ed to help you write your piece. Also see the RESULTS Blog post on how to get your op-ed published. If you need guidance for writing and submitting an op-ed, see “How to Generate an Op-ed” in the RESULTS Activist Toolkit and our February U.S. Poverty Conference Call resources provide a lot of helpful information as well. Finally, please feel free to contact RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Deputy Communications Director Colin Smith ([email protected]) for help.
Last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) unveiled his plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code. While the proposal does have some positive reforms, it makes some major changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) which could hurt many low-income families. The plan increases the CTC for families but it significantly cuts the EITC resulting in a major loss of income for low-income families in 2018 (when the plan would be in full effect). According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a mother of two working full-time at the minimum wage (about $15,000 per year) would lose $2,000 per year as compared to what she receives now under current EITC and CTC levels. That’s an 11 percent loss in annual income yet Chairman Camp’s proposal would give huge tax breaks to wealthier Americans and corporations.
Meanwhile, President Obama will unveil his FY2015 budget today. In contrast to the Camp proposal, the President makes a new investment in the EITC. It is expected that the President will call on Congress to expand the EITC for workers without children. Right now, the EITC “childless workers” is $487 per year (the Camp proposal would reduce this to $100); compare that with $3,250 for family with one child. The president’s plan would expand the EITC for these workers (details unknown at this point). CBPP notes that expanding the EITC for workers without children would promote work and reduce poverty. We’ll have more on President Obama’s budget next week.
TAKE ACTION: In addition to taking the March Action, use our online e-mail alert to send a message to Congress about tax credits for working families. Tell your representatives make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent (they are set to expire in 2017) and to expand the EITC for workers without children.
We are now less than 100 days away from RESULTS’ biggest event of the year. The 2014 RESULTS International Conference promises to be our best ever (June 21-24 in Washington, DC). We have an impressive list of speakers lined up.
And we’ll have more exciting IC news to announce in the coming weeks! You can see the current conference agenda on the RESULTS International Conference page. And remember that for the next month, your can register for the conference for the absurdly low price of only $165. We hope you will join us.
Also, if you’re between the ages of 18-28 and want to apply for our exciting REAL Change Fellowship Program, the deadline to apply is fast approaching. You have until March 21 to submit your application. REAL Change has been a huge hit the last few years and by expanding it into a year-long fellowship, you are assured that the excitement and energy you experience at the conference will last long after you leave DC. You can find out more about REAL Change and application details at: www.results.org/realchange.
As mentioned last week, the Shriver Report documentary, Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert will premiere on HBO on March 17 at 9:00 pm ET. The film is produced in partnership with HBO Documentary Films and the Center for American Progress. It follows Katrina Gilbert and the daily struggles that come with living on the brink and raising three children by herself. It is not a story unique to her but one that is relevant to more than 40 million American women.
If you plan to watch Paycheck to Paycheck, why not turn the premier into a watch party. Invite fellow RESULTS group members as well as new people to watch it with you. It’s a great way to get a local discussion going about poverty in America and interest new people in your local efforts to end it.
TAKE ACTION: Plan to watch the HBO documentary Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert on March 17 at 9:00 pm ET. Make it watch party by inviting others in your community to watch it with you. If you don’t have HBO, you can register for a FREE streaming event of the documentary at ShriverReport.org, where you can also learn more about the documentary and upcoming contests, tweet-ups, and Google Hangouts with Maria Shriver and other exciting guests.
Put in Face-to-Face Requests for March Recess. Submit or follow up on your requests to meet face-to-face with your representatives and senators the week of March 17-21. Ask for a meeting to talk about expanding economic mobility in America. You can find scheduler names and contact information on our Elected Officials page. Also, use our 2014 U.S. Poverty Meeting Request Sample Letter for e-mails or faxed requests and review our 2014 U.S. Campaigns Overview and Summary of our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaigns to prepare. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to help you prepare with personalized coaching for your members of Congress and materials to take with you, such as our 2014 Economic Mobility Request Sheet.
Join EITC Webinar on March 5. Tax Credits for Working Families will host an informative webinar on the details of the President's proposal to increase the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and its potential impact on low-income workers. Panelists will also discuss the proposal's prospects on Capitol Hill. Speakers include: Aviva Aron-Dine, Associate Director for Economic Policy, Office of Management and Budget; Elaine Maag, Senior Research Associate, the Tax Policy Center, and Deborah Stein, Tax Credits for Working Families. Join this informative webinar tomorrow, March 5 at 3:00 pm ET. Register TODAY!
On March 1, St Louis RESULTS held a festive "Celebration of Everyday Heroes" house party fundraiser to reach friends who had never heard of RESULTS before. It was strategically planned to be 30 days before a RESULTS Global Group Start Meeting on March 30. Twenty-four people attended and our St. Louis volunteers raised about $2,000. A short 20 minute program included a personal account of a partner's experience, a showing of the RESULTS Everyday Heroes video, and an invitation to engage with RESULTS by donating or by helping RESULTS make connections for the upcoming group start. Everyone loved the continuously running slide show of our partners in DC dressed up in hero costumes and reasons why they advocate with RESULTS. As Madras Gras is a celebrated holiday in St. Louis, guests tasted King Cake and specialty drinks while listening to New Orleans music late into the night. Thank you to all our volunteers in St. Louis who helped make this a great success!
Contact your fundraising coaches Cindy Levin ([email protected]) or Jen DeFranco ([email protected]) to receive your own kit of resources to throw a Celebration of Everyday Heroes when they become available soon.
Invite People to the RESULTS Presentation in Iowa City. RESULTS Grassroots Organizer Jos Linn will be doing a presentation to start a new RESULTS group in Iowa City, IA. If you know anyone in eastern Iowa, please invite them to attend the meeting next Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 – 8:30 pm CT. The meeting will be held at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2675 E. Washington St. in Iowa City. For more details, contact Jos at [email protected] and share our Iowa City Facebook Event page!
Invite People to Next RESULTS Intro Call. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about how you can get involved with RESULTS as a volunteer, sign up for one of our RESULTS Introductory Calls. The next call is Wednesday, March 12 at 9:00 pm ET. You can sign up at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/. For an inspirational look at RESULTS, watch our new Everyday Heroes video before the call http://www.results.org/about/everyday_heroes/.
Please Send in Your 2014 Group Plans! If you have not submitted your 2014 Group Plan Summary, please submit a copy to Jos Linn at [email protected]. You can find all the Group Planning materials on our Group Resources page.
Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 17-21, April 14-25. Request face-to-face meetings.
Saturday, March 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Wednesday, March 12: RESULTS Iowa City Group Start Meeting, 6:30 pm CT, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 2675 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA. For more details, contact Jos at [email protected]. RSVP at our Iowa City Facebook Event page.
Wednesday, March 12: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.
Tuesday, March 18: RESULTS Media Support Call, 8:00 pm ET. 712-775-7300 Passcode 954747#.
Tuesday, March 18: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.
Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. More details soon. REGISTER TODAY!
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our U.S. poverty campaigns.