Discussion

Poverty and the States’ Administration of Programs

Beyond Poverty Alleviation:  Closing Wealth Gaps

Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN)

Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi

Dr. Pamela Herd

Sen. Jack Whitver (IA)

Sen. Charles Schneider (IA)

Sen. Harry Brown (NC)

Sen. Thomas Alexander (SC)

Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN)

Sen. Karen Spilka (MA)

Dr. Kijakazi: Until we address systemic racism and discrimination in the job market, people of color will face occupational segregation and its consequences-- a key factor that blocks them from accessing opportunities. Current programs help to bring people a little bit above the poverty level, but we need trajectories that will help them soar, so that they can grow wealth and thrive, not simply survive.

Dr. Herd: Many programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and the Child Tax Credit, have been effective in ameliorating poverty, and the Welfare Reform movement eliminated some ineffective programs. Poverty has declined since the 1960s and economic security has increased, but there are still disparities and people who need help.

Sen. Jack Whitver (IA): There’s definitely a problem when we provide assistance to families if the bread-winner is earning $13 per hour and then, if they get a dollar raise, their assistance is cut off.

Dr. Kijakazi: This Cliff Effect is a challenge for poor families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a good model because it is a graduated program and families can increase their income without losing the tax credit.

Sen. Charles Schneider (IA): An additional problem is that the EITC comes all at once in a big check, when families may need the extra money every day to make ends meet.

Dr. Herd: The problem with EITC and many other programs is the administrative burden. The paperwork and need for documentation can be overwhelming. The timing is a criticism of EITC, but people tend to use it for significant necessary expenditures such as down payments on rent or car repairs.

Sen. Harry Brown (NC): The most effective programs are bridge programs designed to incentivize people to get back on their feet and off the programs. People can get handicapped and dependent on the programs. There’s also the problem of fraud and abuse.

Dr. Herd: Fraud is actually minimal, assessed at 1-3%, which also includes mistakes; in fact, many more people who are eligible for benefits do not receive them, as opposed to the few who get benefits fraudulently. The administrative burdens make support programs expensive to maintain. Making it simpler and easier to prove eligibility and get access would reduce program administrative costs substantially.

Dr. Kijakazi: Most people do not want to be on public assistance programs. People take the benefits because they have to. It is burdensome, time-consuming, a challenge to stay enrolled, and also keep your job and care for your family.

Sen. Thomas Alexander (SC): Some programs use private funds to help people get out of debt and subsidize housing costs. But these funds can disappear when people get a job and then rent costs go up.

Dr. Herd: Housing costs and the threat of eviction are major stressors for poor people. Subsidized housing, especially in high-rent cities, are often closed or have long waiting lists, and during that wait, people run out of money. There is a great need for affordable housing.

Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN): Our State has generous welfare programs especially for education, but our African American communities are farther behind others, such as the Asian Americans. Why is this?

Dr. Kijakazi: There is a “model minority myth” about Asian Americans. People perceive all Asians as a monolithic group when, in fact, Asians come from many different places with many different cultures and assets that lead to different outcomes.

Sen. Karen Spilka (MA): Massachusetts saw a similar problem with our programs. We invested substantial funds into education for African American students but did not impact the wealth gap. We realized we needed a more evidence-based approach and also to create short- and long-term interventions.

One step was to get data to determine what areas had more English-language learners and/or more low-income students and then allocate more education funding to those areas. A second strategy was our “Pay Equity Bill,” which prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s current salary until after they have been offered a job. We increased EITC, implemented paid family leave, and increased the minimum age required for work.

Funding for these landmark educational programs could come from revenue generated by the proposed Millionaire’s Tax.

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

Discussion

Poverty and the States’ Administration of Programs

Beyond Poverty Alleviation:  Closing Wealth Gaps

Dr. Kijakazi: Until we address systemic racism and discrimination in the job market, people of color will face occupational segregation and its consequences-- a key factor that blocks them from accessing opportunities. Current programs help to bring people a little bit above the poverty level, but we need trajectories that will help them soar, so that they can grow wealth and thrive, not simply survive.

Dr. Herd: Many programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and the Child Tax Credit, have been effective in ameliorating poverty, and the Welfare Reform movement eliminated some ineffective programs. Poverty has declined since the 1960s and economic security has increased, but there are still disparities and people who need help.

Sen. Jack Whitver (IA): There’s definitely a problem when we provide assistance to families if the bread-winner is earning $13 per hour and then, if they get a dollar raise, their assistance is cut off.

Dr. Kijakazi: This Cliff Effect is a challenge for poor families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a good model because it is a graduated program and families can increase their income without losing the tax credit.

Sen. Charles Schneider (IA): An additional problem is that the EITC comes all at once in a big check, when families may need the extra money every day to make ends meet.

Dr. Herd: The problem with EITC and many other programs is the administrative burden. The paperwork and need for documentation can be overwhelming. The timing is a criticism of EITC, but people tend to use it for significant necessary expenditures such as down payments on rent or car repairs.

Sen. Harry Brown (NC): The most effective programs are bridge programs designed to incentivize people to get back on their feet and off the programs. People can get handicapped and dependent on the programs. There’s also the problem of fraud and abuse.

Dr. Herd: Fraud is actually minimal, assessed at 1-3%, which also includes mistakes; in fact, many more people who are eligible for benefits do not receive them, as opposed to the few who get benefits fraudulently. The administrative burdens make support programs expensive to maintain. Making it simpler and easier to prove eligibility and get access would reduce program administrative costs substantially.

Dr. Kijakazi: Most people do not want to be on public assistance programs. People take the benefits because they have to. It is burdensome, time-consuming, a challenge to stay enrolled, and also keep your job and care for your family.

Sen. Thomas Alexander (SC): Some programs use private funds to help people get out of debt and subsidize housing costs. But these funds can disappear when people get a job and then rent costs go up.

Dr. Herd: Housing costs and the threat of eviction are major stressors for poor people. Subsidized housing, especially in high-rent cities, are often closed or have long waiting lists, and during that wait, people run out of money. There is a great need for affordable housing.

Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN): Our State has generous welfare programs especially for education, but our African American communities are farther behind others, such as the Asian Americans. Why is this?

Dr. Kijakazi: There is a “model minority myth” about Asian Americans. People perceive all Asians as a monolithic group when, in fact, Asians come from many different places with many different cultures and assets that lead to different outcomes.

Sen. Karen Spilka (MA): Massachusetts saw a similar problem with our programs. We invested substantial funds into education for African American students but did not impact the wealth gap. We realized we needed a more evidence-based approach and also to create short- and long-term interventions.

One step was to get data to determine what areas had more English-language learners and/or more low-income students and then allocate more education funding to those areas. A second strategy was our “Pay Equity Bill,” which prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s current salary until after they have been offered a job. We increased EITC, implemented paid family leave, and increased the minimum age required for work.

Funding for these landmark educational programs could come from revenue generated by the proposed Millionaire’s Tax.

Dr. Kijakazi: Until we address systemic racism and discrimination in the job market, people of color will face occupational segregation and its consequences-- a key factor that blocks them from accessing opportunities. Current programs help to bring people a little bit above the poverty level, but we need trajectories that will help them soar, so that they can grow wealth and thrive, not simply survive.

Dr. Herd: Many programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and the Child Tax Credit, have been effective in ameliorating poverty, and the Welfare Reform movement eliminated some ineffective programs. Poverty has declined since the 1960s and economic security has increased, but there are still disparities and people who need help.

Sen. Jack Whitver (IA): There’s definitely a problem when we provide assistance to families if the bread-winner is earning $13 per hour and then, if they get a dollar raise, their assistance is cut off.

Dr. Kijakazi: This Cliff Effect is a challenge for poor families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a good model because it is a graduated program and families can increase their income without losing the tax credit.

Sen. Charles Schneider (IA): An additional problem is that the EITC comes all at once in a big check, when families may need the extra money every day to make ends meet.

Dr. Herd: The problem with EITC and many other programs is the administrative burden. The paperwork and need for documentation can be overwhelming. The timing is a criticism of EITC, but people tend to use it for significant necessary expenditures such as down payments on rent or car repairs.

Sen. Harry Brown (NC): The most effective programs are bridge programs designed to incentivize people to get back on their feet and off the programs. People can get handicapped and dependent on the programs. There’s also the problem of fraud and abuse.

Dr. Herd: Fraud is actually minimal, assessed at 1-3%, which also includes mistakes; in fact, many more people who are eligible for benefits do not receive them, as opposed to the few who get benefits fraudulently. The administrative burdens make support programs expensive to maintain. Making it simpler and easier to prove eligibility and get access would reduce program administrative costs substantially.

Dr. Kijakazi: Most people do not want to be on public assistance programs. People take the benefits because they have to. It is burdensome, time-consuming, a challenge to stay enrolled, and also keep your job and care for your family.

Sen. Thomas Alexander (SC): Some programs use private funds to help people get out of debt and subsidize housing costs. But these funds can disappear when people get a job and then rent costs go up.

Dr. Herd: Housing costs and the threat of eviction are major stressors for poor people. Subsidized housing, especially in high-rent cities, are often closed or have long waiting lists, and during that wait, people run out of money. There is a great need for affordable housing.

Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN): Our State has generous welfare programs especially for education, but our African American communities are farther behind others, such as the Asian Americans. Why is this?

Dr. Kijakazi: There is a “model minority myth” about Asian Americans. People perceive all Asians as a monolithic group when, in fact, Asians come from many different places with many different cultures and assets that lead to different outcomes.

Sen. Karen Spilka (MA): Massachusetts saw a similar problem with our programs. We invested substantial funds into education for African American students but did not impact the wealth gap. We realized we needed a more evidence-based approach and also to create short- and long-term interventions.

One step was to get data to determine what areas had more English-language learners and/or more low-income students and then allocate more education funding to those areas. A second strategy was our “Pay Equity Bill,” which prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s current salary until after they have been offered a job. We increased EITC, implemented paid family leave, and increased the minimum age required for work.

Funding for these landmark educational programs could come from revenue generated by the proposed Millionaire’s Tax.

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

Discussion

Poverty and the States’ Administration of Programs

Beyond Poverty Alleviation:  Closing Wealth Gaps

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2020 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.