Policy Alert - We need your help to reinstate AFI IDA (Individual Development Account) Funding for FY 2018!

On May 1, 2017 Congress passed a budget that did not include funding for the Assets for Independence (AFI) Individual Development Account (IDA) program.  We need you to call your Congressmen (House and Senate) and ask them to reinstate AFI IDA finding for FY 2018.

SCACED's IDA program which matches low income individuals savings 3:1 towards the purchase of a home, start a small business or go back to school started in 2000.  


South Carolina IDA Program Impact:

  • 112 Homes Purchased
  • 100 Adults went back to School
  • 189 Businesses Created
  • More than $16 million in Economic Impact in SC

Here are two steps we’re asking you to take by Friday, June 30:

1. Call or email your members of Congress (House and Senate) and urge them to include Assets for Independence (AFI) funding in the FY18 budget. Click Here to Find Your Elected Officials.

2. When you speak with your Senators, also ask them to sign on to Senator Merkley’s “Dear Colleague” letter (attached) in support of AFI in the FY18 budget. Deadline is Friday, June 30 to sign on! This “Dear Colleague” letter of support will be one of the last opportunities to fight to get AFI back in the budget, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to remind your Senators of the impact of this cut. 
 

SEN MERKLEY'S SIGN ON LETTER

Thank you for all you do for your community!

SC State Legislators pass a State Earned Income Tax Credit

Earned Income Tax Credit logo

The SC Association for Community Economic Development along with many partner advocates worked for years to lower taxes on low-wage South Carolinians and their families through a refundable state-level EITC worth 20 percent of the federal credit.

On May 11, 2017 a nonrefundable EITC worth 125% of the federal credit was tacked on to the "Roads" bill by Democratic lawmakers in an attempt to mitigate the burden of a proposed gas tax on lower-income workers. Governor Henry McMaster (R) vetoed the legislation on Wednesday for reasons unrelated to the EITC, but the legislature overrode his veto today, and the bill goes into effect July 1.

"Although the enactment of a state-level EITC will bring much-needed tax relief to many low-wage South Carolinians, the credit could benefit many more if it were eventually made refundable. Those earning the least owe little to no income tax and are often unable to benefit from nonrefundable EITCs, despite paying other taxes like sales and payroll. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, only about 2% of South Carolinians with the lowest incomes (below $21,000) will benefit from the new EITC. Eventually making the credit refundable would help more of these families make ends meet. to sustain and enhance their programs, activities, and services." - Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families (TCWF)

County Health Rankings Released

County Health Rankings

The annual County Health Rankings will be released on March 29th. The health of nearly all counties in the nation is measured and then ranked within the states. The rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources. This valuable tool enables you to view an overview and comparison of South Carolina's counties complete with downloads of relative documents dating back to 2010.

The rankings are based on a model of population health that emphasizes the many factors that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play. Building on the work of America's Health Rankings, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has used this model to rank the health of Wisconsin’s counties every year since 2003. 

City of Columbia Employees Participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

City of Columbia Employees participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

On February 3rd, City of Columbia employees were invited to participate in a poverty simulation to help people better understand the complicated life one lives when in poverty. The event was coordinated by the American Bar Association and held at the South Carolina Bar Conference Center. Members of the Columbia legal community were also in attendance including students and faculty and staff from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The simulation lasted 2.5 hours and was broken up into five “weeks,” with each week lasting approximately 15 minutes. Attendees were given character profiles which included their character’s name and a brief backstory of their experiences. They were then broken into teams, or "families", and had the goal of meeting their families’ most basic needs. Volunteers took on roles as bank representatives, social service workers, day-care providers, legal aid attorneys, grocers and employers, all offering services or goods the families needed to survive.

The following video highlights the simulation in February, and more detailed information can be found in this article.