What's Got MDC Buzzing?
Last week the Charlotte Observer featured a great primer on the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and why it’s important for low- and moderate-income families to know how to claim these credits. The author is Kaia Clark, an AmeriCorps volunteer at MDC, working with The Benefit Bank® of North Carolina. Kaia’s piece includes some history, some tax prep advice, and the experience of a Charlotte resident who paired free tax prep and FAFSA application at a TBB site to get her daughter on the road to college.
Now, MDC has got an amazing board of directors with a wealth of experience standing up for equitable communities and opportunity for those left behind. It’s not often, however, that the commitment is recognized by people like Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. On a February 20 show, Jon Stewart poked fun at MDC board member Dick Molpus, former Mississippi secretary of state, in a piece about the state’s only-recent ratification of the 13th amendment. Jon ran his bit…and then he did his research. That’s when he learned that Dick Molpus has been a long-time champion of civil rights in his home state and beyond. You can see Jon’s apology that aired this week here; then, you ought to read this lovely piece from Sarah Morice-Brubaker for some additional history of Dick Molpus’ efforts for reconciliation and justice.
The Brandeis Institute on Assets and Social Policy just released a new research brief on the widening racial wealth gap. Tom Shapiro, lead author, also participated in a PolicyLink webinar discussing the findings this week. (You can view a recording of the webinar here.) The research is based on results from a longitudinal study of 1700 households, from 1984-2009. Over that time period the wealth gap between the white population and African-American population has increased by more than $150,000. According to the Shapiro report, the two major factors contributing to the gap were number of years of home ownership and level of income. Much smaller factors included a college education and financial supports/inheritance.
On the webinar a panel of other experts, moderated by Angela Glover Blackwell, recommended the following policy actions:
- Increase capital gains tax to equal employment income tax
- Raise the minimum wage overall and for tip earners
- Provide enough financial supports so individuals and families could save and weather unexpected expenses and avoid high-interest loans
- Create low-cost fixed mortgage loans, like farmer’s loans in the ‘50s and ‘60s
And while we’re listing recommendations, here’s a new website from the Lumina Foundation with suggestions about designing and implementing programs that increase students’ postsecondary success. Next Generation Hub is a collection of tools and tips and examples of successful student support programming. Our favorite part is the Steal This Idea! section where you’ll find customizable designs for a variety of student support programs.