Asset Building Laser Talk

Support Low-income Savings Programs — Enact the Saver’s Bonus

Updated June 13, 2012

Engage: One of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty is by helping low-income households build up savings and assets.

Problem: Unfortunately, current asset-building policy primarily rewards those who are already wealthy. For example, 45 percent of the benefits from the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and low rate for capital gains go to the wealthiest one percent households; the bottom 60 percent receive only three percent of those benefits.

Inform/Illustrate: In contrast, the Saver's Bonus uses the convenience of tax time to help low-income Americans start saving. Low-income families would check a box on their tax return asking the IRS to deposit all or part of their tax refund into an eligible savings account. To encourage participation, part of their deposit would be matched up to $500 per year. It’s that simple... and it works. In its first year, a pilot project called $aveUSA has helped low-income savers open over 1,600 accounts and save nearly $1 million.

Call to Action (House): Will you speak to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI-12) and urge them to support low-income asset building policies like the Saver’s Bonus in any tax reform efforts?

Call to Action (Senate): Will you speak to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and urge them to support low-income asset building policies like the Saver’s Bonus in any tax reform efforts?

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 and see our Economic Opportunity for All campaign pages for more background on these issues.