Greetings, Assets Advocate.
The NC Assets Alliance is hosting the following upcoming events. Please join us!
Don't forget, you can also get more involved in the work of the NC Assets Alliance even if you are not able to travel to Raleigh.
NC Assets Alliance subcommittee groups about upcoming meetings.Many committee meetings are held via conference call. If you don't live in Raleigh, you can still participate.
Outreach: Donna Gallagher
Policy and Communications: Alexandra Sirota
Research: Jess Dorrance
For information on leadership roles in the NC Assets Alliance and how you can get involved, please contact Lucy Gorham
Please email Emila Sutton
with updates and information on asset building in practice across the state. We want to hear about your program and share it with other assets advocates.
Thank you for your continued support of the NC Assets Alliance!
North Carolina Assets Alliance
|State Asset Policy
Legislative Study Commission On Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery Update
On February 2nd, Lucy Gorham and Emila Sutton of the NC Assets Alliance presented information regarding the work of the Alliance and some policy recommendations to the Legislative Study Commission on Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery. The Alliance reiterated prior recommendations by the Poverty Law Center's Gene Nichol and The NC Justice Center's Bill Rowe:
Raise the North Carolina Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 10% of the
federal credit. 20% of working North Carolina households benefit from
2. Remove the cap on enrollment for the critical Health
Choice children's health insurance program.
3. Increase funding for the North
Carolina Housing Trust Fund.
4. Establish a "Tax Incidence Analysis" for all tax bills
introduced in General Assembly & the overall tax system.
In addition to these points, the NC Assets Alliance made the following recommendations:
funds for outreach on the EITC and other benefits as well as free tax
preparation and application completion through the NC Benefit Bank
6. Funding for the state Individual Development Account (IDA) Program.
7. Add a "split
refund form" to the state tax return form to encourage savings during tax time. This form would allow
taxpayers to split their refund and put part into a retirement account, or a
savings account - whatever is chosen.
The form would be the
state version of the IRS federal form 8888.
For more information on membership and meeting dates, visit the North Carolina General Assembly website.
|Federal Asset Policy Update
President Obama's Budget
Obama released his budget request for FY 2011 on February 1st. Key investments that will expand economic
opportunity to low- and moderate-income Americans include:
- Expands the Saver's Credit: Provides a 50
percent match on the first $1,000 of retirement savings for families
earning less than $65,000 and provides the deposit directly into the account
rather than providing it as a tax credit on federal income tax owed. Click
here to learn
more about supporting Saver's Credit reform.
- Increases retirement security through the workplace: Proposes
requiring employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan to enroll
their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is compatible to
existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may
opt-out by signing a written waiver and will retain the right to change
their savings levels, reallocate investment portfolios or end
contributions to the account. In addition, the budget doubles the
Small Employer Pension Plan Startup Credit from $500 a year to $1,000 per
- Extends the Make Work Pay tax credit: Extends the credit for an additional
year. This credit provides $400 to single tax filers and $800
to joint filers. Self-employed people are
also eligible. This refundable credit has reached 110 million
- Expands Financial Aid for Students: Supports legislation that has passed the House and is
pending in the Senate that would reform student lending, expand Pell
Grants and simplify the student aid system. Launches an American
Graduation Initiative to support America's community colleges,
focus on college completion, and graduate five million more students by
2020. The budget also strengthens income-based repayment plans for
student loans by reducing monthly payments and shortening the repayment
period so that borrowers will pay only 10 percent of their discretionary
income in loan repayments and can have their remaining debt forgiven after
also proposes to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, invest in reforming
asset limits in Federal means-tested programs, and take steps to
reverse the system of upside-down wealth subsidies by revising the mortgage
interest deduction, charitable donations and other itemized
more information and analysis of President Obama's budget proposal, including
detailed allocation of asset-building funds by department, visit http://capwiz.com/idanetwork/issues/alert/?alertid=14635086
|Asset Building in Practice
CESI Debt Solutions
The Homeownership Center, a division of Consumer
Education Services, Inc is a non-profit HUD Certified housing counseling agency
dedicated to helping consumers become financially literate, live debt-free
lives and make fiscally responsible decisions regarding unsecured and secured
debt including but not limited to home mortgages, credit cards etc. Financial
and Homeownership Education are vital skills for success in life and yet few
adults have ever been offered a basic understanding of how to effectively manage
their finances and make wise decisions regarding home financing. CESI believes
that educating consumers before they get into financial difficulty is the best
way to serve them.
CESI offers a wide range of classes to help clients
accomplish the aforementioned goals. All of their classes and workshops are
designed to meet the needs of people where they are at - for that reason they
will customize most of their outreach to the particular needs of the group they are
serving. CESI's current community partners include: Raleigh Rescue Mission,
Salvation Army, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cooperative
Extension, St. Augustine College's Community Development Corporation, NC Commissioner of Banks, NC Housing Finance
Agency and others. Leigh Lester Holmes, CESI Housing Program Manager writes, "CESI recently met with the Raleigh Housing Authority and we
plan to be working with them in 2010!"
For more information on CESI Debt Solutions, please contact:
Leigh Lester Holmes
Housing Program Manager
The Homeownership Center
A division of Consumer
Education Services, Inc
If you have an Asset Building Program, please let us know! Email Emila Sutton with details.
Research and Publications
February 21st through
the 28th marks the fourth annual America Saves Week. This special
campaign is part of the nationwide America
Saves campaign which encourages individuals and families to save and build
wealth. It is also tax season, a time when many tax filers will see a financial
boon that may allow them to set aside funds to save for the future, to save for
short-term needs or to start or build an emergency fund.
This month, the
research committee is focusing on recent research and reports related to
savings. Here are a few highlights...
The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the US Department of Commerce recently released
statistics on personal income and outlays.
Personal savings as a percentage of total income was up slightly from
4.5 percent in November to 4.8 percent in December. For more information on
these statistics, click here.
In addition to the Saver's
Credit, featured in this newsletter in the Federal Policy section, here are two examples of pilot programs
that are working to make savings easier and more accessible.
AutoSave is a unique savings plan
that automatically diverts a small amount of post-tax wages, via payroll
deduction, into a savings account. Unlike most existing workplace saving
programs, AutoSave savings are intended to be fully liquid and available both
to cover short-term needs and, potentially, to increase attachment to
mainstream financial services or serve as building blocks to longer-term asset
accumulation. For more information on the AutoSave pilot, click here.
Innovation in Asset Building
This research brief is an evaluation of the first-year
results of New York City's $aveNYC Account Program pilot, which found that individuals
with low and very low incomes can and will save when given simple and safe
banking products. The UNC Center for Community Capital, an Alliance
member, is currently collecting data and analyzing results from the second year
of the $aveNYC program. For more information on the $aveNYC pilot, click here.
recent research reports also discuss the importance of savings, particularly
for low-income families.
first, a working paper from the New America Foundation titled "Unrestricted Savings: Their Role in Household
Economic Security and the Case for Policy Action," discusses the critical role
that savings play when it comes to economic security and the paper makes a
specific policy case for promoting unrestricted savings. To access the full
paper, click here.
report from the Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project, "A Penny Saved is Mobility Earned: Advancing Economic
Mobility Through Savings," uses data to demonstrate the relationship between
savings and economic mobility. To access the full report, click here.
Please contact Jess Dorrance for more information on the Research Committee.
|To contribute to the N.C. Assets Alliance monthly newsletter or for general information about the N.C. Assets Alliance, contact Emila Sutton.
The North Carolina Assets
Alliance is a 40-member state-wide coalition representing public, private and
non-profit institutions with the vision to expand opportunity and build a more
stable financial future for all North Carolinians. For more information, visit www.ncassets.org.
|DID YOU KNOW?
year, eligible North Carolina workers and their families lose more than
$132 million dollars because they fail to claim the Earned Income Tax
Credit - the actual figure is probably closer to $250 million.
When coupled with the fact that most EITC dollars are spent locally, this means that the state easily loses another $350 million in local economic stimulus - money that could be boosting the state's economy, especially in its most disadvantaged communities.
To find a FREE Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site near you, please visit the EITC Carolinas Website.
|Become a FAN of the NC Assets Alliance on Facebook!
Visit the NC Assets Alliance Facebook page for updates and information on asset building work accross the state and nationally. Join us!
Join the NC Assets Alliance Google Group in Wilmington and/or in Greenville!
you to those who participated in the in the Community Forums in
Wilmington and in Greenville, hosted by the North Carolina Assets Alliance and the North
Carolina Housing Coalition. We invite you to join the Wilmington
and Greenville Google Groups (GG) online. If you were unable to attend the forums, please feel free to join the group. We have created the online group to connect anyone in the Greenville and Wilmington
areas that are interested in the asset building arena.
We will also create Google Groups for each upcoming forum for regional and statewide partners can share their work.
To join, visit the Wilmington and/or Greenville GG sites: