Done well, text messaging can enhance existing forms of communication and improve the delivery of critical safety net programs.
The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the “tax gap” —between what taxpayers owe the federal government and what they pay on time. It’s particularly timely given the IRS’ depleted enforcement division and the challenges that the 2017 tax law poses for compliance.
The President and Congress more than doubled grant funding to address the opioid epidemic between 2017 and 2018 but, while opioid- and overall drug-related death rates didn’t continue rising dramatically as they had over several prior years, 2018 preliminary data suggest they’ve flattened rather than dropped.
Trump Administration Floating Changes to Poverty Measure That Would Reduce or Eliminate Assistance to Millions of Lower-Income Americans
Using a lower measure of inflation to adjust the poverty line will result in fewer individuals and families qualifying over time for various forms of assistance.
The approach of Mother’s Day is a good time to remember that legislation from Senators Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, and Ron Wyden, which another 42 senators support, would help 23 million mothers and 49 million children by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Rather than send flowers, state policymakers should offer women a Mother’s Day gift with longer-lasting benefits: expanding Medicaid coverage and rejecting policies that take coverage away from people who don’t meet work requirements.
This week at CBPP, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, health, housing, family income support, state budgets and taxes, and the economy.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló has sent congressional leaders a proposal to address the Commonwealth’s Medicaid funding cliff (its impending shortfall that would threaten the health coverage of 1.5 million Puerto Rico residents this fall), stabilize its Medicaid program for the next five years, and improve the program.
The House Appropriations subcommittee-approved fiscal 2020 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education includes sensible, well-targeted investments in key areas such as child care and Head Start, job training, K-12 education, Social Security operations, and family planning, after years of disinvestment or underfunding. Even with these increases, total funding for these programs would be just 3 percent above what it was a decade ago in inflation-adjusted terms.
Summer is often a time to repair and improve school buildings or finish building new ones, but the nation’s K-12 schools — especially in low-income neighborhoods — have been neglected for years. The coming onset of summer provides a timely reminder that states should move more forcefully to help address the need.
I’ve noted that the new federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentive program will automatically cut state as well as federal taxes for individuals and corporations investing in distressed areas unless states “decouple” the relevant parts of their tax code from the federal code. That’s bad enough, since states will sacrifice revenue to subsidize investments that often occur in out-of-state OZs.
The Treasury Department’s latest proposed regulations on investments in opportunity zones (OZs) — low-income areas designated for special federal tax breaks — state that the program’s purpose is to “increase business activity and economic investment in qualified opportunity zones,” not to improve the economic well-being of those who live there. Indeed, the regulations make it easier for investors to take advantage of the OZ tax breaks but they don’t add any real protections for local residents.
Massachusetts is the latest state to repeal the “family cap,” a policy rooted in racist stereotypes that denies additional assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program for children who are conceived and born to parents already enrolled in TANF.
As policymakers consider proposals to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, they should prioritize funds to address public housing’s unmet renovation needs and build and preserve other housing that’s affordable to the lowest-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
With the IRS issuing investor-friendly draft regulations for the new Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentive program, investments in OZ investment funds will likely accelerate. Before they do, state lawmakers should change their personal and corporate income tax laws so their states don’t provide tax breaks on top of the new federal tax breaks. If states don’t “decouple,” they’ll forgo revenue needed to fund education, health care, roads, and other critical building blocks of robust, inclusive economies to subsidize investments that will often occur in out-of-state OZs.
Members of Congress have proposed almost a dozen constitutional amendments this year requiring a balanced budget, all of which share serious drawbacks. Rep. Ben McAdams introduced the latest balanced budget amendment (BBA), H.J. Res. 55, and it shows both that BBAs are fundamentally flawed and that attempts to fix them invariably don’t succeed at doing that.
That’s true mainly for five reasons:
This week at CBPP, we focused on health, Social Security and Medicare, state budgets and taxes, federal taxes, and the economy.
Stable, affordable housing and high-quality, affordable child care are essential to families’ economic stability, parents’ ability to work, and children’s healthy development, but many low-income families struggle to pay for child care and housing.