Talkin’ Taxes: Three Questions for Tonight’s Presidential Debate
As Nonprofit Quarterly and others made note of earlier this month, poverty issues and low-income families were barely mentioned at the first presidential debate.
Tonight’s debate takes the form of a town hall meeting, and as such, questions will come directly from attendees. You can imagine the countless questions we’d like debate-goers to ask the candidates about struggling families, but we’re practical.
Here are just three simple — yet incredibly important — areas that we believe should be covered at tonight’s debate:
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)/Child Tax Credit (CTC) Improvements – As you may know, improvements to these credits are set to expire at the end of the year. With more than 40 million people currently living in poverty, and the EITC and CTC’s proven ability to prevent working families from falling into poverty, it’s critical that we know the candidates’ positions on the improvements to these credits.
Extending these measures to promote work and self-sufficiency must be coupled with effective ways to administer them, including Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, which provides a free and safe way for low- and moderate-income families to meet their tax obligations.
College Access and Affordability – Students face increasingly higher tuition, fewer scholarship opportunities, and fewer ways to finance the cost. The American Opportunity Tax Credit has made college more affordable for millions, yet is set to expire along with EITC and CTC improvements at the end of the year. Our entire economy benefits from an educated workforce, but without action, we face a looming student debt crisis.
Encouraging Savings – Nearly half of Americans are “asset poor,” meaning they don’t have savings worth three month’s worth of living expenses. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has recently underscored the importance of savings, both for individuals and for our economy as a whole.
Making savings bonds accessible for all must be a priority, and tax incentives for working families to save must be enhanced.
Considering the third and final presidential debate will focus on foreign policy alone, tonight likely presents the last opportunity for the major-party candidates to tell us how they plan to address poverty.
Here’s hoping for a few concerned New Yorkers in the crowd!
P.S. If you’re a Twitter user, be sure to follow #talkpoverty tweets during the debate!
By Dan Fair, Manager of Communications & Member Relations