U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 25, 2012
“According to the Census, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) lifted 5.7 million people out of poverty in 2011. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) lifted 3.9 million people out of poverty. These programs work. We must do all we can to protect and strengthen them.”
— RESULTS Iowa volunteer Leslee Sandberg in an op-ed in Saturday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Check on the Status of Your Editorial Request OR Reinforce the Message with a Quick E-Mail to Congress
- Got Ten Minutes? Revise Your LTE or Op-ed to Include Local Poverty Data (September Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Find a New Hook to Get an Editorial Published Highlighting Poverty in America (September Action)
Latest from Washington, DC
- Congress Leaves Washington After Passing Continuing Resolution (CR), Allowing Farm Bill to Expire
- It’s Recess Time! Get Face-to-Face with Congress and Candidates and Urge Them to #TalkPoverty!
- Quick News
Check on the Status of Your Editorial Request OR Reinforce the Message with a Quick E-Mail to Congress
Several RESULTS groups are working to get editorials in their local newspapers, highlighting the latest Census data on poverty and urging members of Congress to protect key anti-poverty programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). And, those of us not taking the lead with our local editorial boards can make sure Congress gets the message directly by sending a quick e-mail to our senators and representatives.
TAKE ACTION: If you have already sent information to your local newspaper, take two minutes to follow up with the editorial writer(s) to check on the status of your request for an editorial. If you are not the point person in your local RESULTS group for the editorial board, take two minutes to send an e-mail to Congress supporting the EITC and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) using our online alert.
Got Ten Minutes? Revise Your LTE or Op-ed to Include Local Poverty Data (September Action)
In last week’s update, we discussed the importance of a “hook” to get the paper’s attention and decide to print your piece. Luckily, last week the Census Bureau released their annual American Community Survey (ACS), chock full of rich local data. The state and local Census data being released can help with that. To help advocates use the information, Half in Ten has created two great resources:
- Interactive Map: 2011 Poverty Data by Congressional District
- Interactive Map: 2011 Poverty Data by State
What makes your media pieces even more compelling is making it visual and linking it to local families and local programs that are making a difference — which is exactly what Leslee Sandberg did in her op-ed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette last weekend. Great job Leslee and to all those who have been published so far!
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft or revise your letter to the editor or op-ed using the new ACS poverty data and urging leaders in Washington to make ending poverty in America a priority. Be sure to talk about the Census’ finding that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) lifted 5.7 million out of poverty in 2011 and SNAP lifted 3.9 million out of poverty, once again showing why we need to protect and strengthen anti-poverty investments.
Looking to get started? Tailor our online LTE action to send your letter to you local newspaper.
Got Twenty Minutes? Find a New Hook to Get an Editorial Published Highlighting Poverty in America (September Action)
Who would have thought the presidential campaign would give us such an opportunity to discuss tax policy and the EITC and CTC in particular with neighbors, colleagues, friends and family? Many Americans do not understand how tax policy works for low-income working families and others at risk of poverty like RESULTS volunteers. Here are some key facts to remind your personal contacts and your local editorial writers:
- 61 percent of households who owe no federal income taxes pay payroll taxes, and another 22 percent are elderly.
- The bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their income overall in taxes, on average.
- Many of the expansions of the EITC and similar tax provisions for low-income families came under the direction of Republican Presidents.
- Families often claim the EITC for 1-2 years at a time and pay a net of several hundred billion dollars in federal income tax over an 18 year period.
- And, just in case you haven’t committed it to memory already, the EITC lifted nearly 5.7 million working Americans out of poverty in 2011.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take September Action by contacting an editorial writer to urge him/her to write a piece about poverty in the U.S. If you have already contacted an editorial writer, be sure to follow up this week on the status of your request. The new local ACS poverty data (see above)and the larger conversation about who pays taxes give us two great opportunities to follow up, offer some more localized information, and to see if they plan to run a piece on poverty. Some tools to help you reach out to editorial writers:
- Recording of RESULTS Media Training call. Most of the call focused on working with editorial writers and included some great tips in reaching out to them.
- The September Laser Talk, which is a role play of a call to an editorial writer
- Recording of the September National Conference Call
- The September Conference Call PPT slides
- The U.S. Poverty staff. We’re happy to role play with you before you make the call, give you messaging tips, or answer questions about the Census data.
Congress is now on recess, after passing a Continuing Resolution to fund annually-appropriated programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care until March 2013. As discussed in last week’s update, these programs are threatened by a series of automatic cuts (“sequestration”) of approximately 8.2 percent unless Congress works out a larger budget deal. RESULTS believes that we need a balanced approach in order to avoid sequestration, balance the budget and restore the nation’s economic stability, which must includes substantial new revenue.
Meanwhile, Congress failed to pass even a temporary extension of the Farm Bill, which expires on September 30. Luckily for millions of low-income families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is permanently authorized so it does not face any cuts when the Farm Bill expires. Unfortunately, there are several proposals to cut SNAP as part of a new Farm Bill, despite the new Census data showing that SNAP lifted 3.9 million above the poverty line last year. That is why RESULTS and our allies strongly support the Sense of the House Resolution introduced over the summer urging House members to strengthen this critical lifeline for families and oppose cuts to SNAP. You can see a current list of co-signers on the FRAC website.
TAKE ACTION: Call Congress or use RESULTS’ online alert to urge Congress to protect and strengthen Head Start and child care for millions of low-income children in 2013 as a part of a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction. And, use our online email alert to tell Congress to protect SNAP from reckless budget cuts.
Congress is on recess until after the election. Meeting with them in the coming weeks will be vital in making sure our message sticks with them through the election and beyond, and contact with candidates helps pave the way for work in future years. RESULTS is part of a broader movement to get candidates to “#TalkPoverty”, including a push to get Presidential debate moderators to ask about poverty in the upcoming debates.
TAKE ACTION: Take a few minutes to put in your request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators this fall. You can find a sample request in the August Action sheet. We also have an online request form you can use. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting.
And, look for opportunities to make contact with members of Congress and candidates at campaign events. If you haven’t already done so, contact their local offices and ask when their next public appearances will be. Adapt our updated Tax Credit Laser Talk: Urge Congress to Protect Low-income Tax Credits to use in those appearances. For more guidance, check out our PowerPoint presentation, the August 2012 U.S. Poverty Action, and the recording of the August 2012 national conference call.
Today is National Voter Registration Day! Have you registered to vote in your state yet? If not, you can register TODAY using this simple online registration form created by our friends at the AFL-CIO.
New Brookings Institute paper affirms importance of early childhood development. The Brookings Institute’s Social Genome Project recently published findings that break down some of the pathways (and barriers) to the middle class. The findings concluded that those who were ready for school at the age of 5 had a 72 percent of achieving middle class status versus those who were not prepared only had a 59 percent chance of success. Read our new intern Carlos San Miguel’s blogpost for more details.
Help RESULTS grow! RESULTS New England Organizer is hard at work, working with a great team of volunteers to confirm attendees for a group start presentation this Sunday, September 30, 1:30 pm ET, at the First United Methodist Church, 25 Church St, Greenfield, MA 01301. Please invite contacts in Western Massachusetts to attend. RSVP to Jenny Martin at [email protected]. In addition, next week Jenny and RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be meeting with allies in the Boston area and in Maine – if you have contacts in these areas, please let Jenny know. Meanwhile, RESULTS Senior Associate Jos Linn is traveling back to Iowa after a successful outreach meeting with the RESULTS New Orleans group last night, and is working with leaders in Montana to start a group there next month.
If you or people you know live near these areas, please plan to attend and invite others to do so. Let’s keep the momentum going to create an even stronger RESULTS!
Thank you to our Alaska partners in Anchorage and Sitka for their fabulous fundraising events with our ally John Hatch as a speaker! Anchorage has brought in $7000 so far from their house party with 35 guests. Sitka raised over $4000 and brought our message to 95 people at their dinner event. Good luck to the Tacoma, WA group who will be holding their benefit dinner this Wednesday, Sept 26.
Tickets are now on sale online for the Detroit area fundraiser with Marianne Williamson. Please help them spread the word by sharing the link with folks you know in Michigan and Ohio for this special event evening event on October 19 where she will discuss “Consciousness and Activism” and give us a sneak preview of her upcoming SISTER GIANT conference.
For a listing of the many cities hosting fundraising events, please visit our Fall Fundraiser Blog and share the word about these great upcoming events. Also, please join our “RESULTS Fundraisers” Facebook group for periodic fundraising suggestions and engage in conversation with other RESULTS fundraisers.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: September 21 – November 12. Request face-to-face meetings.
Sunday, September 30: RESULTS Western MA Group Start Meeting, 1:00 pm ET. United Methodist Church, 25 Church Street, Greenfield, MA. Contact Jenny Martin at [email protected] for more details.
Wednesday, October 3: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Tuesday, October 16: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected]
Wednesday, October 25: RESULTS Montana Group Start Meeting, 6:30 pm MT. Whitefish, MT. For more details, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Tuesday, November 6: Election Day.
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. 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:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x116, [email protected]
- Jos Linn, Senior Associate, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 774-1707, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Carlos San Miguel, U.S. Poverty Campaigns Intern, [email protected]
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, c[email protected]
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via e-mail 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.