Updates

Build Back Better plan is a must for Latinos, working poor and marginalized communities

28th Sep 2021

You've heard the talk and the big debate going on in Washington, D.C., and beyond -- all over what's being called the Build Back Better proposal.

It’s being called the largest social investment since President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs of the 1960s.

It’s being called “the human infrastructure” package, to supplement the roads and bridges intrastructure bill.

At a price tag of $3.5 trillion, some are saying we can’t afford it.

I say we can’t afford not to -- and here's hoping U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly agree on this fact in helping those Arizonans who need the most hand up. The evidence for such an investment is clear.

We are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, which we know has hit the Latino community especially hard – in both physical and economic health, with more Latinos contracting Covid, being forced to be on the front lines as “essential workers,” in losing jobs and businesses and in danger of losing their homes due to unpaid rent or mortgages with moratoriums being lifted.

Too many young Latinos are not getting a quality education – not in pre-K, not in K through 12, not in postsecondary education.

Too many Latinos are dropping out before earning a high school diploma. And those who do go to college, knowing the best-paying jobs are on the other end, are facing financial hardships and barriers.

Over the last 50 years, the value of Pell Grants – which many like myself used as the first member of their family to afford college – has fallen … from covering more than 75% of the cost of a four-year degree at a public university to under 30%.

The result is many low-income students are taking on student loan debt – debt many can never ever afford to pay back in full and harming their financial future.

Young families also are being faced with the harsh reality of conflicted priorities between family and income. Child care for two children costs at least half of the median Millennial’s salary in 47 states, including Arizona.

Homeownership rates are at a historic low for young adults, meaning more and more young adults ages 25 to 34 are living with their parents, putting additional strain on limited income.

And parents are having a harder time caring for their elderly parents – again choosing between spending time with their loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable, or being forced to work and ignore family obligations in an impossible losing equation.

The tax cuts under the previous administration went overwhelmingly to the wealthy and increased the federal budget deficit by $2 trillion over a decade.

Two important points must be underscored: One, the $3.5 trillion investment in human infrastructure will be paid over 10 years, not in a single giant check; and two, much of the pricetag will be paid by raising taxes on the rich and making corporation so they pay their fair share instead of little to nothing, as they do now.

According to the Tax Policy Center, President Biden’s plan would decrease taxes for most wage-earners and increase taxes only on those making more than $400,000 a year. And his plan would raise about $2.1 trillion over the decade, paying for his Build Back Better Plan.

Think of this plan as investment, not as an expenditure. Much of the investment we’re talking about are tax credits anyway, over the next decade. And much will be paid for through new tax revenues from the most wealthy among us.

It is long past time to make an investment in our nation’s future. And that future investment is in the very future itself – people.

So, what's in the plan? At various events, CPLC Action Fund has highlighted details, which include:

 

Education:

Maximum Pell Grant would increase by nearly $1,500 to help all eligible low-income students pay for a two- or four-year degree.

Two years of free community college and by making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students

The value of Pell Grants over the last 50 years has fallen from covering more than 75% of the cost of a four-year degree at a public university to under 30%. The result is many low-income students are taking on student loan debt – debt many can never ever afford to pay back in full.

 

Workforce development:

U.S. spends less than one-quarter of the average that other advanced economies on workforce and labor market programs as a share of the GDP.

Registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, creating up to 2 million new registered apprenticeships slots.

Pre-apprenticeship programs will strengthen the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities/

 

Child Care:

Difficulty in finding high-quality, affordable child care and lack of access to preschools leads some parents to drop out of the labor force entirely, some to reduce their work hours, and others to turn down a promotion.

The result is a lifetime of consequences on earnings, savings and retirement.

Free universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, benefitting 5 million children and saving the average family $13,000 when fully implemented.

Priority for high-need areas, with families choosing schools, child care centers, family child care providers, Head Start, and other community-based providers.

Guarantee access to high-quality, affordable child care for low- and middle-income families and offer universal free preschool to all 3- and 4-year old children.  Families will pay only a portion of their income based on a sliding scale.

For the most hard-pressed working families, child care costs for their young children would be fully covered, and families earning up to 1.5 times their state’s median income will pay no more than 7 percent of their income for all children under age five. When fully implemented, this plan will save the average family $14,800 each year, help parents better manage work and care, and produce lifetime benefits for children.

 

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit:

Make permanent the expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) enacted in the American Rescue Plan.

With this expanded credit, families can receive up to half of what they spend on child care for children under age 13, up to a total of $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children.

Such tax credits need to be made permanent. 

 

Home Care:

High costs and increasing shortages of care for disabled and elderly people leave many to rely on unpaid caregiving – nearly a quarter of millennials are providing care for a family member

Create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program.

Workers would receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one.

It will guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safe leave by year 10 of the program, and also ensure workers get three days of bereavement leave per year starting in year one.

The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.

 

Expand the Child Tax Credit and deliver it monthly.

The Build Back Better proposal would extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion first enacted in the American Rescue Plan from $2,000 to $3,000 per child 6 years-old and above, and to $3,600 per child under 6.

Parents can use this tax credit on everything from diapers to putting more food on the table to paying the rent or mortgage.

For a family with two parents who earn a combined $100,000 per year and have two children under 6, the Child Tax Credit expansion means the family’s credit would go from $4,000 total to $7,200 total, an additional $3,200 per year in tax relief.

For a family with two parents who earn a combined $24,000 per year and have two children under 6, the expansion means even more; they would see roughly an additional $4,400 in tax relief because the full credit was not previously available to them.

Low-income families—the families that need the credit the most—can benefit from the full tax credit.

An estimated 66 million children (90 percent) are already poised to benefit from the expanded tax credit, including over 9 million Black children and over 17 million Latino children.

 

Affordable housing

Expand access to federal subsidies that will enable the construction or rehabilitation of more than 1 million affordable rental housing units for very- and extremely-low income renters.

This includes investments in the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Housing Trust Fund, and the Capital Magnet Fund.

Authorize $2 billion in new project-based rental assistance agreements for the first time in more than 20 years to help even more working families access affordable housing. 

Build and rehabilitate more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income homebuyers via the innovative, bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA).

Offering $20 billion worth of NHIA tax credits over the next five years will result in approximately 500,000 homes built or rehabilitated, creating a pathway for more families to buy a home and start building wealth.

Paid Leave:

Paid Leave for All wrapped up a two-week nationwide campaign tour that included 10 states and 14 stops.

The goal was to raise awareness for paid family and medical leave for all working Americans. The FAMILY Act would provide eligibility for 12 weeks of leave for any reason starting the year it was implemented.

Biden’s plan, however, would gradually ramp up eligibility to 12 weeks of leave over 10 years. 4 in 5 workers currently do not have access to paid family leave.

Let Arizona's two senators know you support the Build Back Better plan.

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema

https://www.sinema.senate.gov/contact-kyrsten

Phone: (602) 598-7327 or (602) 598-7327

 

U.S. Senator Mark Kelly

https://www.kelly.senate.gov/

Phone:  (602) 671-7901 or (202) 224-2235

 

 

 

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