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In The Spotlight

NEW LBP REPORT: Fund diversions erode Louisiana’s safety net

In the two decades since the federal government overhauled America’s welfare system, Louisiana has steadily diverted money meant to help struggling families gain economic security.

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The Daily Dime

A state tax on gasoline is the primary source of funding for Louisiana’s crumbling roads and bridges, which face a nearly $13 billion backlog of needed repairs and upgrades.

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The Daily Dime is a summary of the day's news stories related to the state budget and issues that affect low- and middle-income individuals and families, compiled every business day by Louisiana Budget Project staff.

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Our Two Cents

Poverty gap widens between Louisiana and U.S.

Posted on September 15, 2016

By Nick Albares

The poverty rate in Louisiana for adults and children remained unacceptably high in 2015 even as other states saw significant improvements. New U.S. Census data released Thursday also show that Louisiana continues to have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the United States. They point to the need for greater investments in programs that support low-income working families, such as child care assistance, need-based financial aid for college, and an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

Here are five key trends that you should know about:

1. Wages are low and poverty is high

Nearly one in five Louisianans — 889,946 people, or 19.6 percent of the population — lived in poverty last year, the third-highest rate in the nation. That includes more than 300,000 children (28.4 percent; also third highest).

Wages in Louisiana continue to lag behind the rest of the nation. Louisiana’s median household income was $45,727 in 2015, compared to a national median of $55,775. And income inequality is fourth-highest among the states, trailing only Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia – one more reason the state should reform its upside down tax structure.

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