Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why Communities Of Color Should Focus On The “Fiscall Cliff” And Potential Sequestrian

1. Deep cuts to the unemployment provision will disproportionately impact people of color. More than 2 million Americans could lose unemployment benefits unless Congress reauthorizes federal emergency unemployment help before the end of the year.

2. An average tax increase of $3,500 per household will adversely impact low-income and middle-class families of color. According to the Tax Policy Center, low-income families will be hit the hardest, with a couple making between $20,000 to $30,000 annually seeing a tax increase of $1,408. This tax hike will be particularly hard for the 16.7 percent of African Americans living in poverty and the 27.8 percent of Latinos who are near poor. Middle-class families of color will also experience a tax increase. The average tax increase for middle-class families is $2,000 each year.

3. Workforce-development programs that are vital to communities of color, like YouthBuild, face significant cuts. YouthBuild, a program connecting low-income youth to education and training, could be cut by about 8 percent. Coupled with previous cuts, the program could see about one-third of federal funding cut between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2013. In 2010, 54 percent of YouthBuild participants were African American and 20 percent were Hispanic.

4. Federal budget cuts under sequestration would quickly mean cuts to federal, state, and local public-sector jobs, which disproportionately employ women and African Americans. In 2011 employed African Americans were 20 percent of the federal, state, and local public-sector workforce, and women were nearly 50 percent more likely to work in the public sector.

5. Early child care funding could be cut by more than $900 million, impacting the thousands of children of color who benefit from these programs. Such cuts will mean 96,000 fewer children in Head Start, a federal program where 60 percent of program participants are children of color.

6. Programs that directly help the most vulnerable families and children are on the chopping block in the fiscal showdown negotiations. Child nutrition programs such as the Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC) could be cut by $543 million—a devastating loss to the more than 450,000 people of color who utilize its services.

7. Education funding cuts will hurt the 66 percent of students who borrow to pay for college. Pell Grants, which provide need-based grants to low-income students to offset the cost of college, face severe cuts. In 2011 the Pell Grant program provided financial aid to more than 9 million students, many of whom are students of color.

8. Cuts to vital health services such as Medicaid will hurt the 60 million people who depend on it for health insurance coverage. People of color will be hit particularly hard by cuts to Medicaid, with Latinos accounting for approximately 29 percent of program enrollees and African Americans accounting for 20 percent. In 2010, 57 percent of people on Medicaid were people of color.

9. Since 2010, funding for housing has been cut by $2.5 billion, meaning any additional cuts would significantly hurt low-income families and communities. Many housing programs, such as Section 8 Housing Assistance, provide vouchers to low-income families for affordable housing in the private market. In 2011 the program aided more than 2 million low-income families across the country, with 44 percent and 23 percent African American and Hispanic, respectively.
10. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, which helps bring down the cost of heating for low-income households, will be cut. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helped about 23 million low-income people pay for winter heating bills, is in jeopardy of being cut in FY 2011.


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