Blog Archives

Competing budgets; competing priorities

broken_budgeting_onpageThis week, the U.S. House and Senate voted upon each chamber’s respective majority budget resolution for fiscal year 2014. While the House budget passed in the House and the Senate budget is expected to pass in its own chamber in the next day or so, neither of these competing plans has much chance of being enacted or funded through the actual appropriations process. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has also released its own, “Back to Work Budget,” which is even less likely to be enacted, which picked-up only 84 votes in the House. Read the rest of this entry


New Data from CFED on the Strength of State Policies

CFED LogoCFED recently released new data on the strength of state policies that help families create financial security and opportunity. These data capture policy changes that occurred in the 2012 state legislative session, or for which data became available after fall 2011.

You can see which states were the winners and losers using the interactive map, which shows net policy gains and losses across the country, and describes the changes in each state. You can also read an analysis of recent changes for each policy. Read the rest of this entry

“Sequestration” = Big VITA Losses for Families

VITA Budget

Could tens of thousands of families lose access to VITA’s free tax preparation services in 2013?


The federal VITA grant appears destined for an 8.2 percent cut – about $984,000 – under across-the-board budget reductions scheduled to take place in January. This VITA damage could affect services for up to 34,700 households, by NCTC calculations. And it’s just one example of how so-called “sequestration” cuts could erode crucial education, health care, and human services, unless Congress soon takes action to avoid what otherwise will amount to a full 10 years of such annual reductions.

Those drastic measures are rooted in the way policymakers decided to approach federal deficit reduction late last year: Read the rest of this entry

New NCTC Paper: Building Families’ Long-Term Financial Security

Building Long-Term Financial SecurityNCTC recently released its latest paper, “Building Long-Term Financial Security,” presenting a brief, lay-of-the-land description of savings policy as it connects to tax time and VITA programs. For the past decade, the Saver’s Credit has been a primary incentive policy for encouraging savings – more precisely, retirement savings – among low- and moderate-income taxpayers through the tax code. Meanwhile, over the same period, this credit has shown little effect on actually increasing the number of lower-income families with long-term savings.

Recognizing this, several research projects undertook efforts to promote the Saver’s Credit and retirement savings at VITA sites. What we’ve learned from these projects so far is that the Saver’s Credit isn’t necessarily moving the needle on increasing the financial security of these households, and focusing on retirement savings alone may be missing the mark. Read the rest of this entry

Tax-reform Goals: Fairness, Adequacy, and Simplicity

We Need Tax ReformThe financial security of millions of hardworking families depends greatly upon a series of important federal tax and budget policy decisions to be made in the coming months.

Yet increasing calls for “tax reform” represent a potentially even bigger, longer-range backdrop of policy choices that could affect households for many years. NCTC aims to help shape any reform measures so they protect and strengthen the well-being of low- and moderate-income families, rather than add to their struggles.

Fairness, adequacy & simplicity: A principled approach to tax reform” lays-out three fundamental goals for any tax-policy efforts Congress might undertake in the coming months, or even beyond.  These recommendations aim to ensure any tax-reform moves: Read the rest of this entry

Report: Working-poor Families Do Have “Skin in the Game”

Skin in the GameAs we honor the value of hard work, Labor Day provides a particularly good opportunity to reflect on the efforts of families who often work the hardest but still struggle to attain financial security.

Adding to that perspective is a timely, new report by the Marguerite Casey Foundation called “’Skin in the Game’: The Federal Tax System, Tax Reform , and Poor Families.” It reiterates the fact that those working-poor households who pay no federal income taxes nonetheless contribute substantially to the government that serves us all. Read the rest of this entry