ACPP news releases

EITC expansion would help 200,000 Alabamians

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Wednesday, March 5, 2014, on President Obama’s proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit:

“Reducing poverty and boosting the economy without adding a dime to the deficit is a great idea, and that’s just what President Obama’s budget would do. The president’s plan to make major improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit would help 200,000 Alabamians next year. This idea would encourage work while reducing income inequality.

“The EITC and the Child Tax Credit are powerful anti-poverty tools for families with children. These two credits lifted 166,000 Alabamians, including 90,000 children, out of poverty each year, on average, over 2010 to 2012. Raising the maximum EITC for childless workers and expanding eligibility for young workers between the ages of 21 and 25 would provide a greater incentive to work and help them gain a foothold in the economy.

“The president’s plan also would help tens of millions of low-income working families by making permanent the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC. These improvements have made more families eligible and increased the credit for many others. More than 287,000 families in Alabama benefited from these improvements last year, and they’ve lifted 25,600 Alabamians out of poverty each year, on average, over 2009 to 2012.

“The EITC rewards employment among parents, and studies show it helps their children do better in school. It also helps our economy by letting workers keep more of what they earn and spend those dollars right here in Alabama. President Obama’s proposal would build on this record of success.”

To learn more about the effects of the EITC and CTC in Alabama, check out this fact sheet from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Alabama ranks among worst states in long-term budget planning, study finds

Only three states rank below Alabama in long-term budget planning, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C. The report finds that Alabama could promote greater government efficiency and improve its business climate by adopting budget-planning tools that have proved effective in neighboring states, such as a regular tax expenditure report and detailed multi-year projections of overall revenues and spending.

"Alabama can and should do more long-term planning to help strengthen our economy and make our government more efficient and transparent," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "People across the political spectrum can agree that adopting tools to help our leaders make good long-term decisions about our state's future is in everyone's best interest."

Read ACPP's news release here.

Read the full CBPP report here.

Read the CBPP report's Alabama fact sheet here.

910,000 Alabamians to see cut in food assistance beginning Nov. 1, 2013

More than 900,000 Alabamians -- nearly one in five -- will see their food assistance benefits cut beginning Nov. 1, 2013, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expires. More than 47 million Americans, including 22 million children, will face the reductions. For a family of three in Alabama, the cuts mean a reduction of $29 each month. Families' benefits this month now will average less than $1.40 per person per meal.

"SNAP has been a powerful tool to keep families out of poverty during the long recession and recovery, and for most of the 910,000 Alabamians still on SNAP, it doesn't feel like the recession has ended," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "To adjust for this week's cuts, many struggling families in Alabama will literally have to tighten their belts."

Read ACPP's news release here.

More Alabamians had health coverage in 2012 despite higher poverty

The share of Alabamians without health insurance decreased in 2012, even as the state continued to suffer from one of the nation's highest poverty rates, U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday show. The data suggest Medicaid and other public insurance coverage played a significant role in holding Alabama's uninsured rate steady, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said, as did provisions of the Affordable Care Act that extend coverage to young adults.

"The Affordable Care Act has provided vital access to quality medical care for Alabama's young adults who are just starting out in life," Forrister said. "The Census data underscore just how much Alabama could strengthen our health care protections by fully implementing the act, including the Medicaid expansion that would start next year."

Read ACPP's news release here.

Arise statement on announcement of new payday loan regulations in Alabama

Arise's Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, regarding the governor's announcement of new regulations to create a centralized payday loan database in Alabama:

Alabama Arise praises Gov. Robert Bentley for new regulations to protect borrowers from excessive payday loan debt. Many supporters had written Banking Department Superintendent John Harrison, asking that he approve a set of new regulations on payday lending. Payday lenders pushed for rejection of the changes, but the regulations were approved as proposed. Coalition members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama (ARLA) partnered with the Federation of Republican Women and ALCAP in supporting the regulations.

Arise is especially pleased with the plan for a new central database that is slated to be in place by January 2014. Current law limits payday loans to $500 per borrower at any given time, but allows lenders to check several databases, none of them comprehensive. The result is that some borrowers can go from store to store and amass a mountain of debt. The new central database will protect borrowers from excessive debt and help lenders comply with the law. It’s a great first step. Arise and ARLA will continue to press the Legislature to cap the interest rate on payday loans, currently 456 percent APR, and on auto title loans, now at 300 percent.