Denver, Colorado 2021-10-17 08:00:47 –
In the early days of the pandemic, after Graciella Flores’ husband lost his job, the couple were so broken that they could hardly afford to put gas in their cars. It was easy for her to imagine where things were going. No food stamps, no new school supplies for 3 kids, phone debt and water bills. Entering the cycle of extreme poverty they have worked hard to avoid.
“We don’t want to be part of that,” she said. “We would have lost our home.”
Flores, in the Montbello district of Denver, said so far that families have been pandemic cash aids from the government, especially checking for stimulus. Recently expanded child tax credit — $ 300 per child per month.
“With that money, I paid a portion of my rent and bought food. We can afford school supplies,” she said. “Basic human needs.”
Her story fits Colorado and national trends. According to US Census Bureau data, poverty actually declined in 2020, despite the recession following the arrival of COVID-19. Released in September..
According to the census, in 2020, the “supplementary poverty index”, which is a data point that considers household cash and benefits and is a more comprehensive index than the basic poverty rate, will be 12% to 9 nationwide. It dropped to%. Drop off at least after 2009.
In Colorado, measurements fell slightly, maintaining around 11%. This is the lowest value in more than 10 years.
Luke Teater, deputy director of the Governor’s Budget Department, told state budgeting officials in a presentation of economic forecasts last month that the takeaway was clear.
“Despite the large loss of employment and wage income during 2020, the strength of our policy response meant that we actually saw a reduction in poverty,” he said.
But Senator Dominick Moreno of the Commerce City Democratic Party, who chairs the state’s Joint Budget Committee, said poor people and families should not expect this to continue. He seems to be clear that one recipe for poverty alleviation, giving money to people, but government cash aid to meet basic needs is actually an urgent policy. I said there is.
“It’s not rocket science. If people can afford to live, poverty alleviation will be reduced and many other social problems will be alleviated,” Moreno said. “But without federal support, there really isn’t a sustainable way to keep them going into the future. Indeed, the state doesn’t have the resources to do that.”
Colorado cannot spend in the red and cannot raise taxes without the approval of voters. Income tax is uniform and the same rate applies to the poor and the rich, but in reality it decreased last year and will decrease to 4.5% this year as well. This means that the state cannot afford a huge new social program unless it breaks into or overcomes the bones of many other basic government services.
For reference, sending a direct payment of $ 375 to about 400,000 people once a year ago cost the state $ 168 million. Sending these payments monthly for even a year costs $ 2 billion (about one-sixth of all state general spending).
It is on the hurdle of political will. The concept of endless cash payments to the poor remains the third rail, even in this Democratic-controlled state.
“The best way to get out of poverty is work,” said Kim Ransom, a Republican in Douglas County, who belongs to Moreno’s Budget Committee. “If we try to keep people away from that cycle, throwing government money at them is neither sustainable nor really kind. People want to take care of their families, children, and themselves. I think. They don’t necessarily want to depend on it for the rest of their lives. “
The federal government is also controlled by the Democratic Party, but unlike Colorado, deficit spending and tax law rewriting are possible. But the party’s narrow trilogy (the White House and both parliaments) has so far not approved the lasting cash aid that people like Flores have relied on. The stimulus payments are over and the federal unemployment allowance is over.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, supporter of child tax credits, including D-Colorado, I’m pulling it just to stretch it Several years from the current enhanced version will expire at the end of the year.
Although the credit is expensive August study by Columbia University Expanding it has been found to generate eight times more wealth, further improve education and social mobility, while reducing government costs associated with health care and imprisonment... State Health Director Jill Hansakar Ryan said Friday that expanding child tax credits “may save 40% of Colorado’s children from poverty.”
Boulder’s Silas Atkins said he saw the benefits first hand. The two fathers were dismissed in March 2020 and divorced during a pandemic. He relied on government assistance to move to affordable housing and keep his children comfortable.
“When I first saw someone say’poverty is a policy choice’, I couldn’t understand what they meant,” he said. “But that’s true. It’s a decision to spend money on other areas, not on the basic human rights and needs of the people.”
And research shows that people basically use cash aid overwhelmingly, as Flores and Atkins did. Marisa Westbrook, a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Denver, observed in a two-year study that followed 35 people in the Westwood area.
“For the majority of my participants, all forms of cash aid are directed towards rent and utility bills, and many people go beyond cash aid and how they actually use food banks. We’re talking about what we’re doing, “said Westbrook. “This will be a continuous problem without consistent support and consistent financial support.”
Moreno, as Colorado’s leading state budget policymaker, disagrees that this results in policy choices.
“As a country, we have consciously decided not to make these really important investments to support people’s success,” he said. “There is still this spirit in this country that everyone goes alone … but we have seen it over and over again that it is not a real option for people.”
Cash aid reduced poverty in Colorado, nation during pandemic Source link Cash aid reduced poverty in Colorado, nation during pandemic