Los Angeles, — California. Today, United Ways of California joined Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and other California leaders to announce the launch of CalEITC4me, a statewide campaign involving community, faith, civic, labor and business leaders to ensure the first-ever California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) winds up in the hands of those who worked hard to earn it. Click here to read more.
United Ways of California is proud to announce the release of Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015, a new financial stability report that seeks to measure the true cost of living in California communities.
Struggling to Get By introduces the Real Cost Measure, a new tool that provides a more realistic picture of poverty than the Federal Poverty Line. The Real Cost Measure creates “basic needs” budgets for households, using actual costs for food, housing, transportation, health care, childcare, and taxes throughout California.
Among the questions Struggling to Get By seeks to answer are: What is the true rate of financially challenged households? How many are led by working adults? What do we know about these households? What do their family configurations look like? What regions and communities struggle more than others? What do income challenges look like across race, ethnicity and gender boundaries and more.
Click here to learn more about Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015.
In an overwhelming show of bi-partisan support, the Assembly today approved legislation by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) that creates a policy framework for a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Sponsored by United Ways of California with co-sponsor Alameda County, AB 43 addresses the lack of income gains for working Californians in the Post-Great Recession economic recovery and provides a much-needed economic stimulus in the most economically distressed communities.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult. Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
"Good afternoon, Chairman Ting and Committee members. I’m Pete Manzo, President/CEO of United Ways of California, the state association for California’s 34 local United Ways. United Way works to improve health, education and financial stability for low-and moderate-income families, three interrelated building blocks of a good life. We are proud to co-sponsor AB 43.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult.
Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
Thankfully, the EITC is a proven tool for fighting poverty.The federal EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other federal policy. That is why 25 other states have established state EITCs to supplement the federal credit.
If enacted, AB 43 would help lift over 178,000 Californians, nearly half of them children, out of poverty, and would improve financial stability for over 3.1 million, including 1 million children.
A state EITC also would boost local economies. People tend to use their refunds to make larger necessary purchases, such as car repairs, first-and-last months’ rent, or paying off debt, and each dollar received by a tax filer can generate an additional $1.50 - $2 in local economic activity, according to a study of other state EITCs.
A refundable state EITC would be good for California’s long-term future. Research shows children whose families receive more income from refundable tax credits do better in school, are more likely to access higher education, and may even earn more as adults.
We are very excited to see a state EITC becoming a priority among legislators and the Governor. And we believe AB 43 offers the best approach. It combines two elements we believe are especially important: (1) enhanced reimbursement for families with children, at least one child under 5, when the impacts of poverty can be most damaging, and (2) eligibility that matches the federal EITC, which assists workers with income up to $47,000 for a single parent and 3 or more kids.
This is critically important for many families slightly above the poverty line who earn too little to make ends meet, but earn too much to qualify for other public supports.
We are proud to sponsor AB 43, and we look forward to working with Assemblyman Stone and other stakeholders to ensure a state EITC can indeed reduce and mitigate poverty in California."
8.9 million Californians find it difficult to afford housing, food, and some of the basic necessities needed to survive. Over the last 40 years, productivity has increased by approximately 74%, yet wages for most low- and moderate-income people have not kept pace, with median hourly compensation rising only 9% over that period, according to a report by Economic Policy Institute featured in The Atlantic Monthly.
Children bear the brunt of this, sadly. California leads the nation in residents living in poverty, and our poverty rate for children, 27%, is worst in the country, according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The EITC is one bright spot, however; from 2010 to 2012, the federal EITC pulled 1.3 million people, including 629,000 children, above the federal poverty line in California. To make work even more effective at reducing poverty for low-income families, California’s United Ways, working through our United Ways of California state network, are sponsoring Assembly Bill 43 (Stone), which would create a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, as twenty-five other states have done.