Across America, communities are still experiencing the impact of high unemployment, underemployment and poverty rates. A recent study found that for the first time in modern history, the American middle class is no longer the most affluent in the world.
We can address our economic challenges, but it requires the cooperation and collaboration of individuals and organizations from all sectors. Making lasting change requires more of all of us. It requires all of us to raise our voices – in big ways and small – to make sure decision makers understand the community’s challenges and act accordingly.
That’s why United Way is joining with nearly one-thousand advocates on May 14 to raise our voices for working families across the country. We know that in order for our nation to compete in the global economy we need high-quality child care that gives every child a solid foundation; income supports that help people reach their full potential; and good health that allows children to stay on track in school and adults be productive at work.
On May 14, United Way is focused on advocating for a few evidenced-based policies that lift families out of poverty and into financial stability. Click on the below links to help amplify our message!
- First, we are advocating for continued support for early childhood programs, such as Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These programs received significant funding increases in the Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations bill and we ask that policy makers build upon the investments they made in the upcoming appropriations bill.
- Second, we advocate for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which funds volunteers to become IRS-certified tax preparers and help low-wage people file tax returns for free. Most families benefiting from VITA earn less than $40,000/year, and include people with disabilities, limited-English speakers and the elderly. Returns filed by VITA programs brought more than $2.4 billion back in refunds for low-wage taxpayers.
- Third, we support tax reforms that help working families, including expanding incentives for charitable giving in the U.S. tax code, strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps low-wage working families keep more of what they earn, and the Child Tax Credit, which helps families offset the cost of raising children. Research shows that the two tax credits lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty between 2009 and 2011.
- Finally, we urge increased funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage to nearly 8 million children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage. CHIP provides federal matching funds to states to provide this coverage.
We have the power to change our nation’s future if we work together to address the education, income and health challenges in our communities. Please join us and take action on our advocacy asks. Change doesn’t happen without you.