U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 19, 2016

“The time has come for narrowing the wealth inequality gap for low-income childless American workers.”

– RESULTS Northwest Montana volunteer Karen Cunningham in a March 18 letter to the editor in the Daily Inter Lake

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Media Action: Urge Congress to Expand the EITC and Child Tax Credit

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Not Too Late to Send Our Editorial Media Packet to Your Local Paper (April Action)

In April, we’re working to generate media about protecting individuals and families who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The backdrop is the Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) set up earlier this year. Here is the vision as laid out by the Task Force: Strengthen America’s social safety net to better help those in need; improve education and training so more can succeed in today’s economy; help welfare recipients enter, reenter, and remain in the workforce; and empower everyone to live their own American Dream. While we can agree that these are noble goals, how we get there is the important part. We want to make sure that in achieving this vision, Speaker Ryan and his colleagues do not do more harm than good.

Therefore, this month we are working to generate editorials and op-eds that will urge Congress to take steps to reduce poverty in America by building on the things we know already work. For example, expanding the EITC for childless workers will benefit 13.5 million low-wage workers and lift 500,000 of them out of poverty. In addition, protecting SNAP from cuts and efforts to restructure the program into a state block grant will ensure that hungry Americans will continue to have this vital backstop in place in times of need.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send our new editorial packet to your local paper urging an editorial writer or editor to write a piece about protecting and expanding the EITC and SNAP. See the April Action for tips and talking points and last Tuesday’s Weekly Update for a sample e-mail you can use to send the packet. If you’ve already sent it, please follow up to see if they will write something. Be sure to coordinate with your group who will contact the paper. You just need one person to be the point person for this media piece (those not doing it should work on op-eds). You can find contact information for media outlets in our Media Guide. If you have questions or need coaching for editorial outreach, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

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Got Ten Minutes? Use Tax Day Blog/E-mail to Engage Your Local Action Networks

Over the weekend, many of your received an e-mail from RESULTS with the story of Manilan “Manny” Houle, a REAL Change Fellow from Duluth, MN. Manny talks about how he lobbied to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) at last year’s RESULTS International Conference. He then talks about how he would actually qualify for the EITC h if Congress expanded the credit for childless workers, as RESULTS is now advocating.

Manny’s story is a great way to engage others to take action on this issue. Many of you have Local Action Networks – people who are willing to take action on our issues from time-to-time. To keep them motivated and connected to our current work, send Manny’s story to your Local action Network and urge them to contact their members of Congress about expanding the EITC for childless workers.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to send an e-mail to your Local Action Network about expanding the EITC for childless workers. Forward the e-mail you received about Manny last weekend or include a link to our RESULTS Tax Day Blog Post along with a link to our EITC e-mail action. Your e-mail could look something like this:

Manny Houle is a RESULTS volunteer who passionately advocates for families living in poverty. However, only recently did Manny realize that our work to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without children would make a difference in his own life. Manny works 60 hours per week but is living just above the poverty line. He is not alone. 8 million low-income workers without children are taxed into or deeper into poverty each year because their EITC is much lower than the taxes they owe. Manny and people like him are those the tax code should be encouraging, not punishing.

Will you read Manny’s story and then take a few minutes today to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support expanding the EITC for Manny and millions of low-income workers like him? Use the RESULTS EITC action alert to send your message today! Thank you.

Got Twenty Minutes? It’s Not Too Late to Start Your Op-ed about the EITC and SNAP (April Action)

In addition to editorials, we’re urging you to use your advocacy skills this month to generate op-eds about the EITC and SNAP. Op-eds are media pieces written by you that generally run 600-700 words. Thinking about writing a longer piece like that (as compared to a letter to the editor, which is 100-200 words) can seem intimidating. But it’s simpler than you think. Here’s all you need to write a powerful op-ed.

The Lead (one paragraph). This is a strong opening paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention (the “hook”) while also stating your main point. It can be a story, a reference to something in the news, or reference to a previous media piece in the paper. The key is to be creative and to link your hook to the main idea of your piece (e.g., Congress must protect and expand the EITC and SNAP as it looks to address poverty in America in Rep. Paul Ryan’s Poverty Task Force).

Supporting Evidence (3-4 paragraphs). This is the easy part. Simply back up your main point from the first paragraph with supporting stories and/or data. Our new editorial packet has most of this laid out already so you can take that language and personalize it to you. Use state data on the EITC and SNAP in your op-ed.  

Call to Action (one paragraph). RESULTS volunteers can do powerful call to actions in their sleep. This is where you bring everything back together (perhaps linking it back to your hook and main point) and urging readers and/or lawmakers to take action. The key is to be bold and specific. See our April Laser Talk for an example of a good Call to Action.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to write your op-ed per the April Action. Use the tips outlined above and you’ll create a powerful piece of writing. And if you’re scared to write it, that’s OK. Feel scared, and write it anyway. Of course, the RESULTS staff is here to help you, working with you to brainstorm leads, find data, and proofread your piece. Contact Jos Linn for any help you need ([email protected]).

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Participate in RESULTS Outreach and Support Events

RESULTS has some exciting events coming up designed to strengthen and expand our grassroots voice. Read about the events below and if you or someone you know are in these areas, please plan to attend.

Attend the RESULTS Milwaukee Group Start, Tonight at 6 pm CT. RESULTS Grassroots Manager Jos Linn will be co-hosting a meeting with RESULTS REAL Change Fellow Kali Daugherty to start a new U.S. Poverty group in the Milwaukee area. If you know people in Milwaukee, invite them to attend. The meeting is 6:00 – 7:45 pm CT at the Tippecanoe Branch Library, 3912 S. Howell Ave in Milwaukee. Learn more on our Facebook Event page.

Join the RESULTS Free Agents Calls, Thursday, April 21 at 1 pm and 8 pm CT. If you live in an area with no active RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, join these monthly calls to get support in taking action to end poverty in America. Join whichever calls is convenient for you. To participate, login online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

Kristy Martino Doing Outreach in Texas. RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino will be in Austin, TX next week meeting with the RESULTS Austin group on Wednesday, April 27. She will then travel to Houston with RESULTS Expert on Poverty Qiana Torregano to present at the RESULTS Southwest Regional Conference on April 30. If you’d like to attend either of these meetings, contact Kristy at [email protected].

To learn more about RESULTS’ outreach efforts, please see our RESULTS Outreach Blog post, which we update regularly.

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Quick News

Register for the RESULTS International Conference before It’s Too Late. There are only 11 days to register for the 2016 RESULTS International Conference at the low discounted rate of $125 (for active RESULTS volunteers). Don’t miss out on the chance to see amazing speakers like Tavis Smiley, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Dr. Paul Farmer at such a low price. Also, if you need help with travel costs, we have scholarship money available to active RESULTS U.S. Poverty volunteers. Please apply today at: www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSScholUS.

Nominate a Volunteer for the RESULTS Board. Don’t forget to nominate a volunteer to be a RESULTS Grassroots Board Member. Grassroots Board Members play a vital role in RESULTS, representing you the volunteer on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Boards of RESULTS/REF. Eligible candidates must have at least one year active experience as a RESULTS volunteer in the United States. Candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated by any active RESULTS grassroots member. Please e-mail your nomination to Jack McLaughlin [email protected] no later than Monday, May 2.

Senate Finance Committee to Consider Amendment to Regulate Paid Tax Preparers. Tomorrow, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), is expected to offer an amendment to give the Treasury Department authority to regulate paid tax preparers. It is unclear what will happen in the Senate Finance Committee markup, or if and when Congress might move forward on regulating paid preparers. For more on why this is important, see our new RESULTS Blog post and this piece from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To watch the Committee hearing tomorrow (10:00 am ET), follow this link.

New Bipartisan Senate Legislation to Establish “Rainy Day EITCs”. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) last week introduced S. 2797, the Refund to Rainy Day Savings Act, to help low-income taxpayers build emergency savings by setting aside a portion of their tax refund to a Treasury Department account with interest. The legislation does not include resources to help taxpayers substantially build savings (unlike the Financial Security Credit), but it offers an important framework for those who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For more information, see Senator Booker’s press release and this New York Times piece.

House Committee to Consider Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee have issued a “Discussion Draft” of their potential Child Nutrition legislation. Congress has the opportunity to protect and bolster these programs to close the gaps and ensure that all children have year-round access to nutritious meals during the reauthorization. Anti-hunger advocates are very concerned about the proposed House bill and are working with Hill staff to strengthen the legislation. Read more about the developments in our new RESULTS Blog post.

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Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: May 2 – 6. Request face-to-face meetings. After your meeting, please tell us how it went by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, April 21 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

RESULTS Introductory Call, April 29, at 1:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, May 14 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/32255914; or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Register now at www.resultsconference.org!

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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