Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Platform for Children; Job growth isn’t reducing poverty; Candidates discuss minimum wage and; National webinar today on EITC campaigns

Platform for Children
Kids comprise 25 percent of Louisiana’s population, and our state’s future depends on the ability of children from all walks of life to reach their fullest potential. But what types of public policies are needed for that to happen? That’s the question several stakeholder groups came together to answer during this pivotal election year. The result is the Louisiana Platform for Children – a comprehensive guide for candidates and voters that covers eight major policy areas and offers detailed recommendations. The platform identifies needs and gaps in services, the importance of evidence-based practices and provides data to help policy makers and citizens to determine where to provide scarce state dollars for maximum return on investment.

Organizations participating in the development of the Platform for Children include Agenda for Children, Louisiana Budget Project, Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, LouisianaChildren.org, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families, National Association for Social Workers/Louisiana Chapter and One Voice Louisiana. Louisiana Platform for Children is available in summary and in a longer, full  version. For more information, contact platform@louisianapartnership.org.


Job growth isn’t reducing poverty
As LBP wrote last week, the poverty rate in Louisiana didn’t budge in 2014, even as the state added jobs. The story was largely the same across the country. Erica Williams with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that only 12 states saw their poverty rate decrease, which shows there is much more work that states should do:

Such limited progress is disappointing given improvements in employment nationwide in 2014, including an increase in the number of Americans working full-time.  A slow economic recovery and a large and persistent income gap between households at the top and bottom are partly to blame. But states can do more to address their residents’ economic struggles.  For example, they can raise the state minimum wage in conjunction with creating or improving the state’s earned income tax credit; they can connect more adults and children in dire economic straits to a full range of federal supports, including nutrition, housing, and unemployment insurance; and they can reinvest in areas like K-12 schools and higher education, both of which are foundations of a strong state economy.


Candidates discuss minimum wage

The latest in the seemingly endless string of gubernatorial forums took place Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club, where three of the four major candidates (U.S. Sen. David Vitter was absent) took unscripted questions from the media. As Will Sentell of the Advocate reports, there was one major policy area where the candidates disagreed:


During the forum, one split surfaced in how the candidates view efforts to boost the minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Of the three, Edwards was the lone contender who said he would back such an increase, which he said would help curb poverty that has plagued Louisiana for generations. Dardenne opposed such a hike and said an improved education system is the way to aid the poor. Angelle said he opposes a higher minimum wage and that early childhood education is one of the keys to reducing poverty.

The attention on wages was welcome, given recent data that shows pay for most workers is still well-below its pre-recession peak. And despite misconceptions about teenagers working part-time jobs being the main recipients of the minimum wage, LBP’s prior research shows minimum wages jobs are far more likely to be filled by adults working full-time, including many parents.


National webinar today on EITC campaigns

The Hatcher Group and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities invite you to join in an

hour-long webinar on effective tools and tactics for advancing state-level Earned Income

Tax Credits (EITCs).  The federal EITC is one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty programs, and one that enjoys widespread bipartisan support. On top of the federal credit, 26 states and the District of Columbia offer state-level EITCs of their own.


This year saw a heightened level of EITC action and policy gains in the states. But

enacting new state EITCs, or expanding existing ones doesn’t happen overnight. During

this webinar you will hear from advocates in three states: Louisiana, Montana and Rhode Island, on the proactive campaigns they have waged to build support for state EITCs and their varying levels of success, from getting the EITC on the policy agenda to winning expansion. Learn about the tactics the groups put into action to educate policymakers and engage the public on the EITC, and explore best practices for keeping the credit relevant pre- and post-legislative session.


Click here for more information and to register.


Number of the Day
3.5 percent – Louisiana’s match to the federal EITC, the lowest state match in the nation (Source: Louisiana Budget Project)