ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: ASSET BUILDING


Many Texans are poor, not because they don't work, but because their work pays too little to raise a family out of poverty. To ensure economic prosperity, Texas public policy must support work, make work pay, and help families build their assets. The most important thing the state can do to enhance economic opportunity is to invest in public education—from early childhood education all the way through higher education.

Recent Asset Building Publications

As Payday Lending Spreads Across Texas, Can It be Reformed or Regulated? (12/7/2006)
Payday lending, sometimes known as a cash advance, is a small, short-term, high interest loan that is intended to bridge the borrower's cash flow gap between pay periods. High-cost payday loans are considered among the most destructive financial products in the marketplace. With increasingly high lending volume in Texasâ€"well over 2 million loans per yearâ€" and exorbitant interest rates (often higher than 500% APR), payday lending products drain over $280 million in earnings from Texas workers each year and pitch many borrowers into an endless cycle of debt. Across the country, consumer advocates have partnered with religious groups, military organizations, and mainstream financial institutions in an effort to push state regulators and lawmakers to curb payday lending abuses. Can Texas regulate the industry in a way that protects borrowers from the dangers of payday loans?

The State of Working Texas 2006 (09/6/2006)
Every year around Labor Day, CPPP issues a report on the status of the Texas economy in conjunction with the national Economic Policy Institute. This report finds that nearly five years since the 2001-02 recession, the economy has yet to rebound with advances in household income or real wages. In fact, Texas has shown a 6.2% decline in real median household income since 2002. Virtually all demographic groups have experienced this trend, with younger workers and African-Americans especially hard hit. On a positive note, although still above the national average, Texas' unemployment rate continues to decline and Texas is adding jobs at a faster rate than the U.S. as a whole.

Moving Forward: Common Sense Policies to Promote Prosperity for Working Texans (08/30/2006)
Just in time for Labor Day, CPPP is proud to release Moving Forward: Common Sense Policies to Promote Prosperity for Working Texans. The report analyzes the barriers facing low-income Texans and provides nine recommendations to promote prosperity and move the economy forward.

The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit (03/3/2006)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the Child and Dependent Care Credit are federally funded anti-poverty initiatives that help low-income individuals and families meet their basic needs. Households in poverty and those surviving on meager budgets can significantly benefit from these opportunities to increase their net income.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Provides Billions to Texans, Yet $1.2 Billion Went Unclaimed Last Year (02/27/2006)
More than two million Texas workers claimed over $4 billion in federal dollars for tax year 2003 through the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), ranking ahead of the more populous California. The EITC not only boosts the earnings of low-wage workers and stimulates the Texas economy; it also provides an excellent opportunity for working families to save for the future. Although outreach and free income tax assistance have improved awareness of the program, the Texas economy and working families lost out on nearly $1.2 billion in unclaimed EITC payments last year.

Texas Left Nearly $1.2 Billion in Tax Credits on the Table Last Year: Now’s the Time for Low-Income Families to Claim EITC (02/7/2006)
In Texas, approximately $1.2 billon dollars of tax credits went unclaimed last year in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC is one of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty programs, helping low-income workers and families earning up to $38,000 receive a rebate of federal income taxes. In 2003, EITC lifted 440,000 Texans, including 240,000 children, out of poverty while pumping billions of dollars into the economy.

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