Fiscal Policy

Upcoming Webinar: How the Federal Tax Code is Driving Inequity And What You Can Do About It

October 21, 2013

The Asset Building Program is a co-sponsor for an upcoming webinar (coordinated by Asset Funders Network and PolicyLink) on November 7th regarding the relationship between inequity and current tax policy. Check out the description below and register to attend here. You can also check out our recent paper on this issue: Personal Savings and Tax Reform.

The primary purpose of the U.S. tax system is to generate public revenue, but it also serves as a vehicle to advance public policy goals. For example, the tax code includes provisions that incentivize taxpayers to take certain action – like buying a home, or saving for higher education or retirement – by providing them with tax credits, deductions, exclusions, and preferential rates. These tax benefits reduce government revenues, disproportionately benefit wealthier households, and provide limited benefits for low- and moderate-income families and households of color.

Deliberations about reforming the federal tax code – including discussions about the cost and benefits of various tax expenditures – are underway in Congress. These discussions provide a unique window of opportunity for advocates to call for a more inclusive, progressive, and equitable tax code – one that provides fair benefits to all U.S. households. 

Tax Reform and Asset Building

September 25, 2013

On September 12th, 2013, Elliot Schreur presented "Tax Reform and Asset Building" to the 2013 National Community Tax Coalition conference.

You can find a copy of the presentation here.


Behavioral Insights into Tax Time Savings from CSD’s Tax Filing Experiment

September 20, 2013
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As I mentioned yesterday on the blog, the findings shared in Krista Holub’s presentation at the National Community Tax Coalition’s 2013 conference have the potential to reshape the way we think about tax-time savings.

Lessons on Tax-Time Savings from the 2013 NCTC National Conference

September 19, 2013
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Last week, the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) held its biannual conference featuring experts and practitioners from a variety of fields who shared their insights into the ways taxes affect the lives of low- and middle-income Americans. One of the many themes running through the conference was the attendees’ shared goal of expanding savings at tax time.

Just Who is Middle Class?

September 17, 2013

Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog does us all a service today by passing around this chart from today's Census Bureau release on Income, Poverty and Insurance:

As he notes in his post, "If you're in a family of four, and your family's income surpasses $66,000 a year, you're doing better than the typical American family. If you're making six figures, then you're doing much better than the typical American family. If you're making $200,000 or more, you're in truly rarified territory."

Abbreviated Asset Building News Week, August 5-9

August 9, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is in recess this week. In its absence, here are a few resources and news stories from this week that are worth checking out.

Asset Building News Week, July 29-August 2

August 2, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include savings and taxes, poverty, public benefits, homeownership and housing, and student debt.

Asset Building News Week, July 22-26

July 26, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include tax reform, inequality, and public assistance.

Congressman Serrano Announces Intention to Introduce Financial Security Credit in House

July 25, 2013
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On Monday we released our paper “Personal Savings and Tax Reform: Principles and Policy Proposals for Reforming the Tax Code,” which included our proposal for a flexible, accessible Financial Security Credit for ordinary families. On Wednesday, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY-15) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the House of Representatives announcing his intention to introduce the Financial Security Credit in legislative form. In the letter, Congressman Serrano said:

Currently, many American households are unprepared to meet short-term and long-term financial needs. More than 43% of American households lack the savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if a layoff or other emergency causes a loss of their current income. Without such a safety net, during financial emergencies many families are forced to rely on suboptimal options such as expensive credit cards and exploitative payday loans that then compound the difficulty of their financial situation, rather than helping solve it.

Paper Release: Personal Savings and Tax Reform

July 22, 2013
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With Congress locked in a seemingly endless loop of disagreement and dysfunction, hoping for a big, bipartisan effort to reform our tax code seems more and more like wishful thinking. Still, there are signs of promise. Senator Max Baucus and Representative Dave Camp, both chairmen of their respective tax-writing committees, launched a nation-wide “road show” last week to bring attention to the need for tax reform. While much of the attention generated by the effort has focused on the big money of corporate tax reform, a more urgent issue for average Americans is reforming personal savings incentives. A new paper that I co-authored with Reid Cramer explains why our current system, though supposedly providing generous tax incentives to save for retirement, homeownership, and education, actually fails to support savings among lower- and middle-income Americans and, in doing so, wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year.

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