The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Tax Code Can Do More to Narrow Racial Gaps in Income and Wealth

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 4:51pm

The federal tax code can affect racial disparities in both income and wealth and, while the current code narrows those disparities somewhat, the 2017 tax law marked a step in the wrong direction, our new report explains (see graphic). Certain types of federal tax reforms, however, would advance racial equity, the report shows.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Social Security: A Vital Protection for African American People of All Ages

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 2:52pm

Social Security is a critical source of income for African American people of all ages and has reduced economic disparities between African American and white families. That’s especially important given recent findings from an Urban Institute study that we commissioned, on African American economic security and the role of Social Security, which details the economic barriers that African American workers face.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

SNAP’s “Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility” Supports Working Families and Those Saving for the Future

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 1:07pm

As a result of broad-based categorical eligibility, more than 40 states effectively use less restrictive income and asset tests in SNAP, which allows them to better support low-income working families, promote asset-building among those households, and improve state administration while lowering administrative costs. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration on July 23 issued a proposed regulation to essentially eliminate the policy through executive action.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

How the Federal Tax Code Can Better Advance Racial Equity

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 11:32am

Historical racism and continuing racial prejudice and discrimination have helped to shape factors that determine households’ tax liability, and changes in tax policy and administration can widen or narrow racial disparities.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

States Protecting Residents Against Skimpy Short-Term Health Plans

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 11:10am

Since the Trump Administration issued new rules last year expanding short-term health plans, which are exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) benefit standards and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, a dozen states have strengthened their own limits and consumer protections for short-term plans. Others should follow suit.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

States Should Act to Avoid Insurance Market Disruption, Consumer Confusion Under New Rule

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 11:09am

States should protect consumers from a new Trump Administration rule that expands health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) — which, as we’ve explained, could raise individual market premiums and cause confusion and disruption for people with employer plans — by blocking or restricting substandard “short-term” health plans.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

6 Things Millennials Should Know About Social Security

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 3:27pm

Discussions of Social Security often pit younger workers against older retirees, but Social Security is actually an intergenerational compact that helps Americans of all ages — which explains its enduring popularity among all generations.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Legislation Would Deliver Childless Adults in Every State a Larger EITC

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 3:19pm

The bill would reduce the number of workers whom the federal tax code taxes into, or deeper into, poverty—from 5.51 million today to less than 100,000.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Misguided Trump Administration Rule Would Take Basic Food Assistance From Working Families, Seniors, and People With Disabilities

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 1:45pm

The Trump Administration today proposed changes in a key SNAP (food stamps) rule which, if implemented, would take away basic food assistance from an estimated 3.1 million people, mainly working families with children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Budget Deal Averts Troubling Threats, Allows More Adequate Funding for Key Priorities

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 7:51pm

The deal eliminates the threats both of an unprecedented U.S. government default on its debt obligations and of deep, damaging budget cuts that would have been triggered under the Budget Control Act.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 3:52pm

This week at CBPP, we focused on the federal budget, health, Social Security, and the economy.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Budget Deal Needed to Protect Key Investments

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 2:10pm

Policymakers should reach agreement on lifting the annual caps on total defense and non-defense funding before they leave for their August recess, so they can complete the appropriations bills in a timely way this fall — without the brinkmanship and uncertainty that can disrupt important government services. Freezing funding at 2019 levels, as some suggest, would shortchange non-defense programs and leave key investments underfunded.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Research Note: Medicaid Enrollment Decline Among Adults and Children Too Large to Be Explained by Falling Unemployment

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 5:21pm

While the Trump Administration has cited the improving economy as a factor, our analysis finds that it cannot explain the full national enrollment decline, nor can it explain the especially sharp enrollment declines in some states.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 3:09pm

The past couple weeks at CBPP, we focused on health, the federal budget and taxes, state budgets and taxes, food assistance, family income support, housing, and the economy.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Research on Understudied Area: TANF Restrictions’ Harm to Adolescents

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:35am

Restrictions that the federal and state governments imposed in the 1990s on the nation’s main cash assistance program for low-income mothers and their children are associated with negative behaviors in adolescent youth, especially boys, says a study we discussed in our recent research note.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Maine Stories Show Harm From SNAP’s Three-Month Limit

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 5:44pm

Our new video series featuring low-wage workers in Maine affected by the three-month limit on SNAP (food stamp) benefits shows why losing SNAP can make it harder to get a job and rise out of poverty.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Budget Vetoes Will Increase Poverty, Hardship for Low-Income Alaskans

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 2:54pm

Alaska’s legislature is convening this week to debate whether to override Governor Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes of more than $400 million (about 10 percent of state spending) from the budget — 85 percent of which comes from education, public safety, and programs that serve low-income Alaskans.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Why Congress Shouldn’t Repeal the Cadillac Tax

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:42am

The House is likely to vote soon on a bill to repeal the excise tax on high-cost health plans (the so-called “Cadillac tax”). That would be unwise for two reasons: it would set back efforts to slow the growth of health care costs, and it would lose substantial needed revenue.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

House Bill Would Enable U.S. Territories to Maintain, Improve Medicaid

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 9:59am

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to mark up a bill today that would prevent the U.S. territories (American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) from running out of Medicaid money when their current added federal funding expires later this year.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

States Aren’t Taking Trump Offers to Weaken Health Coverage, Raise Costs

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:37pm

The Trump Administration is encouraging states to pursue “1332” waivers that would weaken health coverage and likely raise consumer costs by letting states depart from some Affordable Care Act (ACA) standards and requirements. But so far, no state has submitted a 1332 waiver proposal to implement the Administration’s new concepts.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty


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