U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | August 25, 2015

“The EITC and CTC are too important to be political football for hundreds of working families in Utah–and every other state in the Union.”

– RESULTS Salt Lake City volunteer David Billings in an August 11 letter to the editor in the Park City Record

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Urge Congress to Save Key EITC and Child Tax Credit Provisions

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Mark Your Calendars for September U.S. Poverty National Webinar

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s request for feedback on our U.S. Poverty National Webinar dates. As you know, we experimented with a Tuesday evening webinar this month (instead of the normal Saturday afternoon). We know some of you cannot do Saturday meetings and wanted to see the response for a weeknight call. We then asked what you thought of that or other possible dates for future webinars. The voting was clear. By more than a two-to-one margin, you asked that we return to our long-standing, second Saturday of the month time. Therefore, our September U.S. Poverty National Webinar will be held on Saturday, September 12 at 12:30 pm ET.

However, we are adding a new resource to help those who still cannot make a Saturday webinar. On Wednesday, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET, we will do a partial rebroadcast of the September 12 webinar with a live Q&A session with Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson. This will give people who cannot attend on Saturday the chance to hear highlights from the monthly webinar and get any questions answered in real time. This will be especially helpful in September because the 16th is the day when the 2014 national poverty data is released by the U.S. Census; we’ll highlight some of the data on that evening webinar. You can login/call in to this webinar on your own; we don’t expect groups to get together but you certainly can if you like.

TAKE ACTION: Mark your calendars for the U.S. Poverty National Webinar on Saturday, September 12 at 12:30 pm ET. Please inform your groups of the date so people know when to gather for the next monthly meeting. Also, if you cannot attend the Saturday webinar, we will do a rebroadcast of the highlights from the webinar with a live Q&A on Wednesday, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. If you have questions, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Got Ten Minutes? Ask Again about Town Halls (August Action)

Congress will be on recess for two more weeks, which means you have two more weeks to talk to them about the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). It is very important that we remain vigilant about protecting these credits for low-income working families. Just this week, it was reported yesterday in Vox that the Senate Appropriations Committee, at the behest of paid tax preparation companies, inserted language into an IRS funding bill requiring the IRS to lengthen the form used to claim the EITC from one page to five pages. This will make claiming the EITC more difficult and confusing for tax filers and the more confusing, the more likely they’ll need a paid tax preparer. While this bill is far from becoming law, it is a good example of the importance of your advocacy. If lawmakers are not hearing from you on the issues, they are hearing from someone else.

And it’s not just members of Congress. Candidates are already gearing up for the 2016 election, both at the presidential and congressional levels. They need to hear from you too. They are refining their positions on the issues in these critical months and they need your input. If there are candidate events in your area, please be sure to attend them and try to ask a question. The earlier we build support for these issues among candidates now (regardless of party), the easier it will be to count them as allies if and when they get elected.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers to ask about meetings and town halls in your area during the remaining weeks of the August recess. See the August Action for tips and resources to help with preparing for town halls. You can find scheduler names and contact information on our Elected Officials page). Also see our Conference Resources page and August National Webinar resources for help with preparing for town halls. If you plan to attend a candidate event, here are some potential questions you could ask:

Local Perspective: The Earned Income Tax and the Child Tax Credit are financial lifelines for working families. These credits encourage work, improve the lives of children, reduce poverty, and put money back into the local economy. Let me tell you my story/a story about the impact of these tax policies [just 1-2 sentences]… OR In 2012, 82,000 New Hampshire taxpayers claimed the EITC (see your state numbers here: http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/state-fact-sheets-the-earned-income-and-child-tax-credits). These credits are some of the best tools to help hardworking families make ends meet and fight poverty. If elected, will fight to save key EITC and CTC provisions and make tax policy work for families?  

Veteran Perspective: The Earned Income Tax and the Child Tax credits are successful anti-poverty programs. Many families in our state are working more than one job just to barely make ends meet. These credits lift millions out of poverty, encourage work, improve the lives of children, reduce poverty, and put money back into the local economy. In 2012, 8,000 of our New Hampshire Veteran and Armed Forces families with children benefited from the EITC or the CTC. Will you continue to support our veterans and our working families by saving key provisions of the EITC/CTC and prioritize working families over corporations? 

General Perspective: In your first 100 days, how do plan on addressing the growing income and wealth inequality in our country? Would you support successful anti-poverty programs like the EITC and Child Tax Credit that lifted 9.4 million people, including 5 million children, out of poverty in 2013? 

If you’d like to see additional questions, including questions on other U.S. Poverty issues, see our U.S. Poverty Laser Talks from our recent International Conference. When you do plan to attend a town hall, please contact Meredith Dodson [email protected] to set up a call to help you prepare. Also, please fill out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form to let us know how your meetings or town halls went.

Got Twenty Minutes? Read Stories about the RESULTS Conference and Remember to Take the Conference Survey

Many of us are still feeling the impact of the recent, successful RESULTS International Conference. It was a great event that inspired many new people in ways they didn’t realize. Now, you can read about some of those experiences. Recently several articles have appeared online from RESULTS people recapping the experience of the Conference. RESULTS Senior Writer Rachel Irwin wrote a piece in Global Citizen about the experience new volunteers from Alabama had at this year’s conference. It’s a great piece on how the RESULTS Conference experience can help wake you up to the power you have to effect change. Also, new REAL Change Fellow TruLe’sia Newberry had her personal story and Conference experience highlighted in an article in the Florida International University News. TruLe’sia grew up in poverty in Chicago and is now using her experience to influence political decisions that will end poverty around the world. These are both inspiring stories and we urge you to read them.

We also want to hear about your experience at this year’s conference by taking the 2015 RESULTS International Conference Survey. Let us know what you thought of the conference and how we can make it better next year.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to read the articles in Global Citizen and the Florida International University News about the recent RESULTS International Conference. Also, please take the RESULTS Conference Survey to let us know about your experience.

Mark Your Calendars: Plan to create your own empowering experience at next year’s RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Quick News

New Report Shows SNAP is Working. Our friends at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) have released new Gallup polling data showing that the economic recovery coupled with the use of SNAP is reducing food hardship rates in the U.S. From FRAC: “Today, there are many key factors at play that are resulting in fewer Americans struggling to put food on the table. As the economy continues to improve, unemployment numbers continue to fall. Meanwhile, federal nutrition programs buoy this positive trajectory. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), for instance, is helping to meet the nutritional needs of people who are out-of-work as well as those who are transitioning to employment and/or to jobs with better wages. Since the recession hit, the growth in the rate of SNAP participation, even as the number of eligible people grew, kept hunger in America from getting even worse.” See the data for your state here.

Op-Ed Highlights Media Bias on Poverty Issues. An op-ed by Sean McElwee published on the Talking Points Memo blog makes some excellent points about media and poverty. It posits what would happen if the media covered issues affecting low-income and middle class Americans as much as it covers the stock market? It is an insightful analysis of media bias, not based on political party but on class, and how it impacts what stories gets covered. It is also a good lead-in for our work in September when we’ll focus on generating media around the release of the 2014 poverty data from the U.S. Census.

Watch Secretary of Agriculture Discuss Child Nutrition. Next week, the Center for American Progress (CAP) is hosting an event with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the upcoming Child Nutrition reauthorization (CNR). He will discuss how child nutrition programs have helped reduce poverty and improve the lives of America’s children. He will also talk about the new CNR provides an opportunity to expand and improve upon these programs. You can watch his remarks online next Tuesday, September 1 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET.

Nominate RESULTS Grassroots Board Member. We have an open Grassroots Board seat this year. All active RESULTS grassroots volunteers are eligible to serve. To nominate a grassroots volunteer to the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please send the person’s name to [email protected] or call 202-783-4800 x152 no later than September 15.

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events.

Next Congressional Recesses: House: July 31 – September 7; Senate: August 8 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.

RESULTS Introductory Call, August 28 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, September 12 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. Listen to previous conference calls and meetings on our National Conference Calls page.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, September 15 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at: http://fuze.me/27491886; or by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886. For more information, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).

Rebroadcast of National Webinar with Live Q&A, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. Login details coming soon.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Save the date!

Find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Nominate RESULTS Grassroots Board Member. Send nominations Jack McLaughlin at [email protected] or call 202-783-4800 x152 no later than September 15.

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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