Wednesday, December 28, 2011

January Meeting-Hear from Employers

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force will be meeting
JANUARY 6, 2012 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

We will be meeting at the Capitol (room to be announced). The presentation of the day will be Bridges to Employment, sponsored by Worklife. Several employers will testify to their success working with low-income workers striving for economic self-sufficiency. We will also review a first draft of the Strategic Plan for reducing poverty through increased economic opportunity.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beyond the Breadline

The problems have been well defined: how the "recession" of the last four years has affected the majority of Americans. Watch the trailer, The Breadline, for stories of how some people now struggle with joblessness, homelessness, and underemployment—folks who previously sat squarely in the middle class.

And that is where this story begins. The film goes beyond the scope of the trailer--beyond the breadline, looking at solutions.

Watch the video here:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reading Room for 12/16

I am sorry that I will not be able to make the meeting later today, but I have been meaning to post the first of the articles below, and just found the last this morning.

Have a great meeting.

A British reporter on a long term assignment in NYC has her first American health care experience, and all of the concern over cost that it involves:

Gary Younge looks at the widening demographics of SNAP enrollees:

And from NPR, on the number of impoverished Americans:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12/16 - Next Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force Meeting

We are meeting at the Capitol in HRC 0109 from 1-4. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate.

Monday, December 5, 2011

*Activism Activity*

Get in touch with your representatives to make sure they know the importance of extending unemployment insurance. UI is set to expire at the end of this year. That is just a few weeks away! (15 points for every letter sent or phone call placed)

'If Congress does not take action by the end of the year, more than 6 million people will lose benefits next year, according to an estimate provided by House Democratic staff.

“In 31 days, time will run out for millions and millions of Americans who are counting on this Congress to extend their unemployment benefits,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said at Wednesday’s press conference. “Some lawmakers say that we can’t afford to extend unemployment benefits and the payroll tax in the current fiscal environment. I say we can’t afford not to."

- Wall Street Journal (complete article at

Half in Ten Denver Presentation

Thanks to everyone that was able to make it out on such a snowy day for Melissa Boteach to talk to us about the Half in Ten campaign! What a great turn out!

Here are the links Melissa referenced Thursday. Great information.

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/17 EOPR - Metrics Subcommittee Meeting Notes

Metrics Subcommittee Meeting Notes

Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force

November 17, 2011

Present: Rep. John Kefalas, Tracy Stewart (CCLP), Kate Veeder (CCLP), Lizzy Stephan (Bell Policy Center)

This meeting was devoted to discussing Rep. Kefalas’ Poverty Impact Statements bill.

Last session, the “ranking minority member” language (re: who could request a poverty impact statement) seemed to upset people

Legislative Council informed Rep. Kefalas that in order to do these statements within existing resources, they would have to limit the total number of statements that could be requested. Six statements could work.

Want to be cautious messaging this bill because the idea of attaching business impact statements is also floating around.

Should the criteria for evaluating a bill be narrowed down more? What about the different ways of measuring poverty—which should be included?

Messaging could be tied into the Governor’s OEDIT plan—the Blueprint: when doing economic development, it directs people to consider the impacts on poverty. Everyone should read the Blueprint.

Criteria for when an impact statement can be requested: this could be narrowed. Definitely want to keep household income, assets, financial security piece. That fits into the frame from the EOPR’s Community Report (model includes consideration of the resources & assets that you start with). Also keep employment & workforce development, as this fits in the model as well—it also fits in with Hickenlooper’s economic development plan. It would be easy to get this data from the Department of Labor. Education is intervention and creates a pathway, but this could be taken out.

Poverty impact statement example: employment & felonies: the poverty impact statement would be high because many people with felonies are unemployed. Also a policy easy employment policies for people with felonies would increase the employment pool for employers. Pipeline to Prison already looks at this, they could do the numbers.

Another example: a pay equity program: do a projection based on the number of people in the workforce. Legislative Council could say: this is how much money would be in people’s pockets after this policy, because right now X number of women are making less than men.

Metrics: Which measurement to use?

Rep. Kefalas: We could use the Human Development Index. Also the people in the public health department already look at the social determinants of health, so we could use those indicators. Wants to create flexibility for Leg Council so that if they have the resources they could use the Supplemental Poverty Measure, Otherwise they could use the social determinants of health, or the self sufficiency standard…plus tie it into the Community Report. Giving them an array of tools would be useful.

Tracy: the bill as it is written makes it sound like Leg Council has to do an analysis using each of those poverty measurers.

Rep. Kefalas spoke to Natalie from Leg Council, who said that doing a statement that shows how much a bill moves people above or below 200% of FPL would be very expensive.

Tracy: What if we tried a qualitative statement? It could say something like “we understand that with the passage of this bill 54% of the workforce would see an increase in their earnings by 27% over the next year. We predict that this will make a different in X number of households.” Elizabeth Gardener in the state demographers office already does something like this. Maybe we want to work with the demographers? It could say X number of households would move from FPL.

We could use the scale from the community report and assign codes, and have a qualitative statement based off of that: “impact of 3”, moving 20,000 families for example from zone 1 to zone 3. The demographers office already knows the number of families at different levels of poverty.

Hardest sell is then how we chose the ratings, defining the zones. But it would take the pressure off of Leg Council.

Rep. Kefalas: we could test it for two years, even if the statement is just a paragraph like it is with tax credits.

Monday, November 21, 2011

With the Stroke of a Pen

CFED published "With the Stroke of a Pen" recently. The report "presents 24 low-cost, politically-viable policy ideas to increase financial security and opportunity in tough fiscal times".

These ideas are based on Household Financial Security Framework: LEARN, EARN, SAVE, INVEST and PROTECT.

Read the report here:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reading Room

Greetings all.

I have come across a couple of articles in the past couple of days that are striking enough to not want to wait until next week to post, so here they are.

From the latest issue of Rolling Stone, how we ended up in the situation that we are in:

A Reuters article exploring recent census data on poverty and children:

Lastly, a working paper from members of the Occupy DC group at Freedom Plaza on how they see things and proposed solutions:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Save the Date! Next 2 EOPR Task Force Meeting Dates:

Friday December 12/16 1-4 (Location TBA)

Friday January 6 1-4 (Location TBA)

EOPR Meeting notes 11/17/2011

Representatives present: Senator Hudak (chair), Senator White, Representative Kefalas, Representative Kagan, Senator Boyd

Stakeholders: Tracey Stewart (CCLP), Colorado Apartment Association, Homeless Advocacy Group, CHFA, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Human Service, Boulder County, Bell Policy Center, Project WISE, Denver Women’s Commission, Colorado Legal Services, Jewish Family Service, Arapahoe Early Childhood Council, Work Life, 5 Points District

Need to concentrate on legislative ideas. Since EOPR task force isn’t official Legislative committee the group can’t introduce any bills. Any potential bills will have to be run personally by a legislator on the task force. Only 2 bills can be introduced after December 1.

Senator Hudak reported about a conference she attended re: Access to post secondary education for low income women:

If a woman is on TANF and she has certain work requirements education is available as meeting some of those requirements but there are certain difficulties in utilizing TANF and other federally provided funds to attend community college because of requirements of the community college system versus the requirements of TANF. Conflicts in number of hours you have to attend vs. credits vs. what colleges require and how that conflicts with Colorado Works requirements, difficulty with workforce centers working with community colleges. Plus the financial issues regarding human services wanting to pay for it as a lump sum and colleges won’t take a lump sum only per semester. Looking at legislation for women on TANF.

Educational Success Task Force: doesn’t have any legislation going forward in addressing any issues EOPR is looking at but it is authorized to proceed and meet throughout the year. They will be having a panel of college presidents and people from Department of Labor discussing how to resolve conflicts among those systems.

2011 Self Sufficiency Standard – Came out in October. Fact sheets available. Child Care jumped about 58% across the state. Health care up 54% across the state between 2004-2011. Federal legislation is looking at doing similar things as the task force. “Stroke of the Pen” - Looks at poverty reduction as a result of economic opportunity. Looks at how many families are removed from poverty as well as moved towards self sufficiency. Looking at what specific communities make the greatest progress. Costs skyrocketed, wages did not.

Kefalas is working on a poverty bill. Would like to work standard into poverty impact statement.

Megan Davis (Boulder County) Process, programmatic and policy ideas – education, savings, protecting assets. Urban Institute produced a document regarding Health Reform assisting in education.

Feds put out SPM which is not state specific. They included information about how public benefits push people out of poverty specifically EITC – Earned Income Tax Credit

Half in Ten Campaign: comparable indicators to public health indicators. Campaign Manager is coming to present December 1st. Looking at their measurement as well.

Still working to put out report regarding how to move folks forward. Metrics committee will take ideas, use logic models and find out how many people will be affected, including Circles, Nursing Care, recommendations from work groups.

Paula Gomez – Skill Build Colorado – funding collaborative helping entry level workers obtain jobs and better careers.

47% of Colorado jobs are middle skill jobs but Colorado doesn’t do much in helping people understand what those opportunities are. Multiple programs duplicating services and not coordinating. Asking for: Better coordination of services, Set up system of credential counting, adult basic education, better process or method for business engagement. Disconnect in different work force development agencies.

Kagan is working with department of higher ed and department of labor to produce a report detailing the future output of qualified people if nothing is changed in higher education or where improvements can be made.

Work Group Updates:

Housing and Utilities: Discussion re: Whether low income tax credits could be targeted at lower income serving projects than they are now in greater proportion paying more attention to a large project failing when it is a large number of low income tenants and how the risks might be mitigated and how we might do that. Need to do this without putting undo risk on taxpayers. Committee has things to add to strategic plan –

Access to Benefits: Discussed work first and food stamps. People who are working are not able to use their actual work as a work activity for their food stamps. (If you are working 29 hours/week, that doesn’t meet a certain threshold so to get your food stamps you are required to do community service which becomes a real barrier for folks that are working.) Suggestion to count financial education as a work activity. Discussed the number of case managers that actually touch a case. People have CMs in different departments. The idea of creating a pilot for navigators who would be THE CM and would work through all the different departments these clients interface with. Transportation to and from meetings and administrative time spent with CM should all count as work activities as well. You can’t be working at your job when you’re keeping up with all the required activities. Another possible pilot to move toward a workforce model where the client does their own IRC – individual responsibility contract (currently happens with refugees) Working to level out the cliff effect. How can this work better for people so it doesn’t all go away at once. Last thing, MSR – monthly status report (should be gone but CBMS is still kicking them out) (Boyd to look at a bill for the entirety)

Metrics – Discussed poverty impact statement.

Workforce Readiness: Clearing house and sharing of resource. Map out where resources are. Eliminate duplications between TANF and workforce investment act, setting goals. Discussed CCCAP, TANF, work activities. Merging of resources and focus.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The reading room returns!

It's been quite a while since I've posted some reading material, but I am back and ready to inundate you with articles dealing with issues around poverty that have caught my eye over the past few days. My selection includes 2 dealing with national level data, one with a Mississippi specific case and finally an article from today's Denver Post about the rising numbers of those without health insurance as it illustrates the connection between low salaries and lack of health insurance.

Extreme poverty at record levels with supportive statistics:

The generational divide in foreclosures, Gen X hit much harder than the Baby Boomers:

'Stealing' food stamps with restitution nets a longer prison sentence than multi million dollar mortgage fraud in Mississippi:

A 22% rise in uninsured Coloradans over the past 2 years (hint - they can't afford it on their low salaries! Big news for some, old news for us):

I will be more active in posting supplementary reading material related to our work here and encourage you to do the same. Have you found an article that hits home? Link to it in the comments so we can read it too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Winning for Activism

For everyone that wasn't able to attend the launch of the Self Sufficiency Standard hosted by the Our Center last month, a wonderful activism competition was announced. Join in on the fun!

It's this simple: Just keep a list of the activities you take part in in the spirit of change and give yourself some points. Each activity is around 5-10 points.

Did you vote in the November election? Give yourself 10.
Did you write a letter to a legislator? Another 10.

We will provide some activity ideas here and encourage you to do the same. We will tally up and announce the winner at Poverty Day 2012.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Making Ends Meet in Colorado

by: Public News Service

"The federal government says the national poverty rate is just above 12 percent, which translates into an income of less than $15,000 for a family of two. But Tracey Stewart, manager of the center’s Family Economic Security Program, who worked on the new report, says a family of two in Colorado would need to make at least twice that - and often much more - to afford basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November Meeting Details

This month the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force will be meeting

on November 17th
from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
at the Capitol
Senate Committee Room 354

Presentation by SkillBuild Colorado on COLORADO’S FORGOTTEN MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS

Defining Family Financial Stability

Review access to postsecondary education by low-income women.

Review of the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard Report

Review of the Supplemental Poverty Measure Numbers

Review of the Half in Ten Campaign Poverty Reduction Indicators

Workgroup Breakout Sessions

Workgroup Report Back

Next Steps, Next Meeting

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Next EOPR Task Force Meeting Thursday November 17, 1:30-3:30. Location TBA.

Hickenlooper Submits State Budget Request

"Though the overall budget is increasing, it reflects reductions both large and small across most State departments, including significant reductions to K-12 and higher education. In total, the state’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting identified $679 million that could not be financed under currently available resources."

The proposed budget includes five key priorities:

  • Protect the Vulnerable.
  • Economic Development.
  • Education Reform.
  • Modernizing Government.
  • Long-term Budget Planning.

Read a quick summary here:

Half in Ten releases "Restoring Shared Prosperity"

The Half in Ten Campaign released their new report "Restoring Shared Prosperity" last week with new data.

Click here to download the full report:

Click here to get Colorado specific data with measures for improvement:

Friday, October 21, 2011

General Task Force Meeting-Circles Demonstration

The October meeting is being broadcasted now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Metrics Committee meeting October 17th

Monday, 11/17, 9 – 11 AM at the
State Capitol, HCR 0111

Thanks to the efforts of Kate Watlkins and Natalie Mullis (leg council staff), we will have Dr. Tim Smeeding and Dr. Yiyoong Chung from the University of WI, Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty calling in at 9:15 AM; thei will address the following topics:

1) the latest federal efforts to develop the Supplemental Poverty Measure;
2) 2) your experiences and latest efforts at the IRP; and
3) 3) how might your measure be replicated in Colorado.

We will also be learning about another alternative poverty measure with a brief presentation from Kate Watkins. Please RSVP and let me know if you have any questions, and if I’ve missed anyone please invite them as well

Monday, October 10, 2011

October Meeting Date --Lafayette, CO

Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force meeting
Friday, October 21 from 2:00 – 5:00pm
SISTER CARMEN CENTER, Lafayette, CO (Boulder County, CO)

Welcome by Sister Carmen Center (10 minutes)
• Brief summary of current issues in Boulder County
• Brief summary of programming
Circles Campaign program (30 min. total)
• Program introduction, overview (5 min.) – Getting Ahead, Circles, National program/promising practice, Outcomes
• Linkages to other programs (5 min.)
o Workforce
o Public benefits
o Housing
• Circle leaders presentations (20 min.)
Public Testimony/Discussion (20 – 30 minutes)
Workgroup break-out meetings (45 minutes)
Report back/next steps (30 minutes)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sesame Street is going there!

Poverty and hunger are interdependent and generational poverty equals hungry kids not being able to focus in school or drinking from water fountains to keep their bellies full. Kudos to Public Television and Sesame Street for letting children talk to children on this issue. Please check in for the Special if you have time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Colorado Grandparents Living on the Edge

Grandparents Day 2011: Sept. 11

"I'm disabled and barely surviving on social security. My adult children live with me because there are no jobs. Medicare premiums went up so my social security is less this year than last. But the cost of everything is going up. We keep the heat down and eat cheap but the grandchildren need better food and clothes. I'm terrified. I don't want to be an old bag lady..." Colorado's One Away Campaign

Census Bureau statistics paint a story of Grandparents as Caregivers:

6.7 million The number of grandparents whose grandchildren younger than 18 lived with them in 2009.

2.7 million The number of grandparents responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more grandchildren who lived with them in 2009. These grandparents represented about 40 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren lived with them. Of these caregivers, 1.7 million were grandmothers, and 1 million were grandfathers.

8% Percentage of grandparents living with grandchildren who were caring for their grandchildren and whose income was below the poverty level. This represents half a million grandparents.

$45,007 Median income for families with grandparent-caregiver householders and/or spouses. If a parent of the grandchildren was not present, the median dropped to $33,417.

1.6 million The number of grandparents who were in the labor force and also responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren.

700,000 Number of grandparents with a disability who were caring for their grandchildren.
If Colorado is serious about poverty reduction they must be serious about expanding resources for the aging population and recognize the stability elders provide for their families and their communities. For more information on what it takes to make ends meet and age in place please see the Colorado Elder Economic Security Standard Index. For more information on the role of Colorado in the re-authorization of the Older Americans Act go to check out this article.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Large Factor Influencing Poverty-

It's our own version of the Marie Antoinette story -- protesters marching for employment, a fair and just economy, and some "give back" from Wall Street are ridiculed while the Merrill Lynch bull is protected by the New York Police Department. Click here to take a look.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Online Meeting Participation--Join US

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Meeting Friday at the Capitol


The EOPR Task Force will be meeting in SENATE COMMITTEE ROOM 356. Breakout sessions will be in Senate Committee Room 354. We will be meeting from 2:00pm-5:00pm. Thank you for joining us!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September Meeting of the Task Force -- Mark Your Calendars.

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force invites you, your constituents and your partner organizations to the “Moving Forward with Economic Opportunity” September 2011 meeting

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force continues to meet ad hoc during this year. This meeting is task-driven specifically designed to solidify workgroups and schedules, so we will have snacks and beverages to help you keep your energy up. All are welcome.

Date: Friday, September 23, 2011
Time: 2:00 pm-5:00 pm

Location: To be determined. We are looking for space with teleconferencing access.

Introduce Senator Kevin Grantham
Update: Sustainability and Structure
Summary: The recent poverty numbers & their implications
Workgroups: Review of proposed logic models & breakouts
Mitigating the Cliff Effect Brainstorming Activity
Other Legislative Ideas, Updates and Trends
Wrap Up & Next Steps

Legislative Committee members include: Representative Mark Barker, Senator Betty Boyd, Senator Kevin Grantham,Senator Lucia Guzman, Senator Evie Hudak, Representative Joshi Janak, Representative Daniel Kagan, Representative John Kefalas, Representative Ken Summers and Senator Jean White.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welfare Reform's 15th Anniversary

Is welfare reform (now referred to as Temporary Aid to Needy Families) working? The answer depends on how you measure success. Following are a couple of opinions on what the data tells us. Note the alternative perspective that actually takes into account what it meant for families.

From House Ways and Means Committee

and from Jared Bernstein

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Task Force Broadcasts through LIVE CHAT

Join the conversation from anywhere!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 2011 Meeting Announcement

The Economic Opportunity
Poverty Reduction
Task Force

Invites you, your constituents and your partner organizations to the “Legislative Committees are Resilient” August 2011 meeting

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force continues to meet ad hoc during this year. This goal of this meeting is to set the stage for what needs to happen in 2012 as we continue to push for poverty reduction through economic opportunity. All are welcome.

Date: August 26, 2011
Time: 2:30 pm-5:00 pm

Location: Capitol Building (200 Colfax)
Committee Room 0109, Denver
The meeting will be broadcast over "Live Chat", so come back to the blog on Friday to participate.

Introductions: Sen. Hudak & Rep. Summers
2010 Overview in Retrospect/Progress Report
Revisiting our Charter
Sustainability and Structure
De-brief of the 2011 County Collaborative and the REAL presentation
Debrief on the Wisconsin Poverty Report and other efforts
Mitigating the Cliff Effect Brainstorming Activity
Other Legislative Ideas and Trends
Wrap Up & Next Steps

Legislative Committee members include: Representative Mark Barker, Senator Betty Boyd, Senator Kevin Grantham,Senator Lucia Guzman, Senator Evie Hudak, Representative Joshi Janak, Representative Daniel Kagan, Representative John Kefalas, Representative Ken Summers and Senator Jean White.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Womancession

What happens when there is a recovery and women don't see a change? What happens when child care assistance fades away and job hours are cut? Is the reduction of poverty related to women going back to work? From the Ms. Foundation, see the video on the WOMANCESSION

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Important Dates in the Next Two Weeks

Please join us on the 25th of July in support of funding the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. The Executive Committee of the Legislative Council has decided to review another request for funding as an interim committee. We want to show them the support the task force has among its stakeholders. If you can help us fill the room, please attend.

Executive Committee of the Legislative Council
Monday, July 25, 2011
1:30 p.m.
Senate Committee Room 354
State Capitol Building

Members of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force will be meeting on July 18, 2011 to work on presentation ideas for the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council. All are welcome to attend this preparatory meeting. We will meet on July 18th, from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm in SCR 354. (State Capitol) Representative Kefalas has provided written comments in his absence and others are welcome to do the same.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Colorado Elders Need Your Support

Please sign the petition and pass on to others. According to the recently released Colorado Elder Index many seniors who worked their entire lives (whose incomes are comprised of Social Security, pensions and interest from any savings) are unable to achieve economic security.

How then can we discuss cutting the fixed income of social security?

To sign petition click HERE!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Road to Shared Prosperity Story Map

The Coalition on Human Needs and Half in Ten release the Road to Shared Prosperity story map

The Half in Ten campaign and the Coalition on Human Needs are pleased to announce the release of the Road to Shared Prosperity, an interactive map displaying a collection of personal stories about programs building the American Dream.

Designed to be a rich resource for the public, all stories contained in the map are paired with data on a state’s social and economic situation to show that this is about more than one person’s struggle or one family’s encounter with the safety net, but rather systemic issues that federal programs are successfully addressing.

Half in Ten and the Coalition on Human Needs are seeking additional stories to add to the map, which will be updated regularly. We welcome short video clips and written stories from service providers, beneficiaries, community leaders, business owners, and others who can speak to the value of federal programs that build prosperity and increase opportunity for all Americans. If you’d like to add your story to the Road to Shared Prosperity, click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force begins its 2011 interim session much as the 12% of Coloradans living in poverty begin their summers. Although the Task Force was restored to its legislative status, it received no funding required to move forward and is required to "bootstrap" its way into legitimacy. The playing field for interim committees include funding for staff support from legislative council and travel reimbursement for participating legislators. This Task Force, reflective of the communities it is meant to represent, will not have access to those resources without another funding source. The playing field for the Task Force is not level, although resources are available.

STILL WE RISE: The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force hosted a "meet and greet" with the Women's Family Action Network. The topic of the day was the "Colorado Cliff Effect" and many attendees were pleased with the discussion outcome. Look for other Task Force events throughout the summer and if you want to support the efforts of the group, contact Representative John Kefalas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Memorial for the American Dream of Retirement

Join advocates in Denver on April 27th to tell Congress that we don't want to work until we die!

We will be holding a memorial for retirement in order to tell Congress that we want them to make corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share before they touch American workers' money!

What: A memorial for the American dream of retirement in order to send the message to Congress that we want them to take their hands off of our social security! Wear black and bring a friend!
When: April 27th starting at 5:30pm
Where: First Unitarian Society of Denver, 1400 Lafayette Street, Denver, CO 80218
or call your Senators in solidarity:

Senator Mark Udall: 202.224.5941
Senator Michael Bennet: 202.224.5852

Thanks to Colorado Progressive Action for this event.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Budget Deficits and their Impact on Families

Conversations about saving money by cutting services rarely include impact statements regarding individuals, families and communities. The following article is the first of many we will include from all over the country. What does it look like from your community's perspective?
The Women of Color Policy Network has issued a policy brief, Analysis of FY 2012 Budget and Deficit Reduction Proposals, analyzing each budget for their impact on women of color, their families and communities. At a time when unemployment rates remain close to double digits, the Network stresses that the focus must be on building a stronger future for all with investments in infrastructure, people and communities.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Save the rich--broaden the base

This is an interesting article proposing, among other things, that if the wealthiest Americans want to pay less in taxes, they may consider broadening the tax base so that the rest of us can help them out. Is it possible to address the underlying issue of income inequality at this time?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unfair Pay Gap Harms Families and Children

If you want to reduce poverty, you've got to support pay equity and that is still an apparently long road. A must read are the 21 plus comments attached to Linda Meric's Denver Post op-ed on pay equity. While the article, also a must read, reminds us of another barrier to poverty reduction it's absolutely amazing that the male-dominated comments resort to the "evil" that lurks within a woman's call for fairness. When you're done wiping the tears from your eyes, join us, APRIL 12th at FUNKY BUDDHA'S (776 Lincoln Street)in support of the real issue at hand--Pay equity=Economic Opportunity=Family Security=Poverty Reduction!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reducing Poverty One Corporation at a Time

Taxes pay for services. Services support families struggling to make ends meet. Perhaps we should invite Senator Bernie Sanders to join our Task Force--he seems to get it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent allied with Democrats, on Sunday released a list of ten big profitable U.S. companies paying little or no taxes. Sanders wants to close the loopholes that make this tax avoidance legal. Some people call the income tax system with generous loopholes for big companies corporate welfare or corporate entitlements.

1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.

2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

The Rainy Day is Here--Use the Umbrella

HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE members need to hear your thoughts about how to handle TANF Reserve funds. Please contact any or all of them and let them know when money is to be reserved or when it is supposed to be spent. If you can join us next week, following are the details:

Bill SB11-124 - HODGE / GEROU Transfers Of County TANF Reserves

Wednesday, April 6 2011 Finance
1:30 p.m. Room LSB-A (1) in house calendar.

House Committee Members: Representative DelGrosso, Chairman; Representative Swerdfeger, Vice-Chairman; Acree, Beezley, Conti, Duran, Hullinghorst, Joshi, Kagan, Kefalas, Labuda, Pabon, Swalm

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free webinar-Supplemental Poverty Measure

You are invited to a groundbreaking event on measuring poverty reduction sponsored by the Center for American Progress. In partnership with the Half in Ten Campaign, the Network is hosting an event addressing the impact of the new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and how to measure the effectiveness of poverty reduction programs.

Representative McDermott (D-WA) will open the program with a keynote address and the following discussion will focus on how we can work together to develop shared anti-poverty goals that are inclusive of the most vulnerable sectors of society.

View a live webstreaming of the event by clicking here Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 8:00 am MST.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Counties bear witness to Recession

Colorado counties, after living with years of historic funding reserves from the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) block grant, face increasing challenges from an unprecedented number of families seeking financial relief. In Fremont County this may mean the end of the program's community services and in Pitkin County it may mean an ask from taxpayers. Where do you side?

More on Fremont County “TANF” Community Grant Funds Cut

and from Aspen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Cliff Effect Webinar-Wednesday, February 23

Co-hosted by Housing Colorado and The Network

10:00 am-11:00 am Mountain Standard Time

The Cliff Effect occurs when low-income families in Colorado lose "work support" benefits (earned income tax credits, child care assistance, etc) as their earnings increase above benefit thresholds but before they've achieved self-sufficiency.

This paradox creates a disincentive for families to earn more, diminishes their economic security and creates a cycle of dependency on support benefits. Learn about the research and policy recommendations from the Colorado Women's Foundation and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for improving family self-sufficiency in the state.

Jody Camp, Director of Programs, Colorado Women's Foundation
Tracey Stewart, Family Economic Security Program Manager, Colorado Center on Law and Policy

Reserve your Webinar seat here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Legislation 2011-Removing Barriers and Building Opportunity

We can spend time, money and energy creating new barriers for Colorado's struggling families or we can find ways to encourage movement towards economic security. From task force member Representative Kagan comes a bill to remove barriers.

BILL HB11-1127

Short Title: Fair Use Of Consumer Credit Information

The bill specifies the purposes for which consumer credit information (i.e., consumer credit reports and credit scores) can be used in certain situations. Section 1 of the bill restricts an employer's use of consumer credit information for employment purposes and requires an employer to disclose to an employee or applicant for employment when the employer uses the employee's or applicant's consumer credit information to take adverse action against the employee or applicant and the particular credit information upon which the employer relied. Section 2 amends the current law regarding the permissible use of credit information by an insurer offering personal lines of property and casualty insurance (insurer) as follows:
* Makes the filing of actuarial justification mandatory for insurers that use insurance scores to underwrite and rate risk; and
* Clarifies that "adverse action", with regard to insurance, includes denying a consumer a discount or placing a consumer in a higher tier. Section 3 removes a separate statutory section pertaining to the use of credit information in automobile underwriting or rating, and instead requires automobile insurers to comply with the same provisions governing use of credit information as property and casualty insurers. Current law requires a consumer reporting agency (agency) to notify a consumer when the agency receives information that would add negative information to the consumer's file. Section 4 adds to the notification requirement consumers who are cosigners to a debt. Section 5 allows landlords to use consumer credit information of a potential tenant (applicant) only to evaluate the applicant's payment history for prior tenancies. When an applicant's consumer credit information adversely impacts the landlord's decision, section 4 also requires landlords to disclose this fact to the applicant.

01/21/2011 Introduced In House - Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs

Friday, January 7, 2011

Join us today for a live chat from the meeting of the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force

Colorado Center on Law and Policy volunteer Andy Cohen will provide moment-by-moment updates throughout the meeting. To ask a question or make a comment to the group, type it into the chat window. Andy will relay the information and any response. The meeting is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Congress fails to approve critical support for seniors

Seniors across Colorado are facing greater hardship this year because Congress failed to approve a $250 one-time payment or a cost-of-living increase for Social Security beneficiaries. For many seniors, that means a loss of medication, a loss of food, a utility bill that can’t be paid and other erosion of economic security.

When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the measure creating Social Security 75 years ago, he promised the government would offer “some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against … poverty-stricken old age.” However in 2011 will be the second year in a row during which Social Security recipients will receive no increase in benefits to accommodate the rising cost of living. Congress also considered, and rejected, a one-time $250 payment to help cushion the blow.

Social Security provides a financial lifeline to elders, families and people with disabilities. Nationally, three in 10 adults age 65 and older rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their incomes, and most beneficiaries are women. In 2010, the average Social Security benefit for women amounted to just more than $12,500. In Colorado, there are 477,256 Social Security beneficiaries older than 65, according to the federal government.

Among Colorado’s Social Security beneficiaries older than 65, an average of 66,163 or 14 percent are living in poverty, an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found.

Social security payments are an economic bridge for all households moving toward economic security. Not only would a one-time payment or cost-of-living adjustment have supported elders as they struggled to meet basic needs, but a one-time $250 payment would have injected significant cash into the economy. When Congress approved a similar payment in 2009, in combination with a payment to Supplemental Security Insurance beneficiaries, the effect was creation or saving of 125,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy will be examining elder economic security closely in 2011 as it publishes the Colorado Elder Index as a companion report to the 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard. Watch for the release in summer 2011.