President Barack Obama recently proposed to remove a major tax benefit from 529 accounts, which millions of families use to save money for college. The account name, 529, refers to section 529 section of the Internal Revenue Code. According to a New York Times article, experts say these tax-advantaged accounts primarily benefit affluent families. Altogether, seven million families are using 529 plans and have saved $217 billion. The article notes that families with an income of over $200,000, which puts them in the top 6 percent of the population, hold 70 percent of 529 accounts. The president’s proposal would have replaced all current college savings tax preferences with a single tax credit that would be more widely available to middle-class families, but that proposal had no chance of passing this Congress. Due to public pressure, President Obama withdrew his proposal to remove tax benefits from 529 accounts. While Woodstock Institute applauds President Obama for trying to make college more accessible for the middle class, there is much more that can be done.
This post originally appeared on Civic Tech Voices
At Woodstock Institute, our mission is to advance economic justice, particularly for low-wealth communities and communities of color. To move towards this goal, we prepare data concerning economic justice and empower others to use and understand it. As our national partners at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition say, data drive the movement.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech proposed new initiatives to help middle-class Americans, including education, job growth, infrastructure, and climate change initiatives. While these initiatives, if implemented, could improve economic security for the middle class, we still have a long way to go to ensure that those at the bottom of the income distribution—not just the middle class—also have opportunities to advance.
As we at Woodstock Institute remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, we also must reflect on how much still needs to be done to achieve his vision of a society where the family into which you are born and the color of your skin do not determine your destiny. At this time, it is fitting that we think about the ways in which our work on financial justice issues can help to reduce inequality of opportunity and outcomes for lower-wealth people and communities, and for people and communities of color.
President Barack Obama recently proposed the America’s College Promise plan to make community college free for two years, a proposal which could benefit millions of students and help reduce student loan debt.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published a report detailing how loopholes in the Military Lending Act (MLA) are negatively affecting the military servicemembers it was designed to protect. When Congress passed the MLA, its purpose was to protect military servicemembers from predatory lending practices. That was back in 2007, and now the Department of Defense (DoD) has proposed revisions to the MLA that will close some of the loopholes.
Illinois Governor Quinn signed the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program (SB2758) into law on January 4, 2015, establishing the authority for creation of a program that will help millions of private-sector workers in Illinois save for retirement.
On behalf of Woodstock Institute staff and our board of directors, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and thank you for your support over the last year. We had many accomplishments, but I’ll highlight just a few of them:
Join Woodstock staff and allies from around the country for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) annual conference in Washington D.C. The 2015 conference will take place from March 25 – 28 and registration is open!
Revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Questions and Answers proposed by federal banking regulators are open for public comment until November 10. The revisions target retail banking and community development to help ensure that banks meet the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) people and communities.
Mortgage data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) allows researchers and advocates to examine trends in the mortgage and housing market and, more importantly, detect patterns of discrimination.
A troubling new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that many of the problems in the subprime mortgage market that precipitated the housing crisis may be occurring with private student loans as well.
When a consumer has a bad experience with a financial institution, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gives him or her a powerful tool to hold that institution accountable: the consumer complaint system. CFPB is now accepting complaints on a wide variety of financial products and services, including mortgages, student loans, bank accounts, debt collection, and more.