April 2015 Latinomics: Tax Time!

April 16th, 2015 by admin

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It’s tax time, the perfect occasion to highlight the importance of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit to Latino working families. These credits encourage work, keep millions of families out of poverty, and have lifelong benefits for kids and families.

In recent months, NCLR has worked to ensure home care workers were not excluded from minimum wage laws and released a report on the remarkable resilience of Latino youth in the face of adversity. When congressional proposals threatened to weaken crucial gainsmade by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), our network stood strong in preserving consumer rights.

Thanks for all your support. Read on to see what’s new in Latinomics!

The Power of Refundable Tax Credits

This tax season, those of us expecting a refund probably filed our taxes earlier than the April 15 deadline. Millions of low- and moderate-income workers will qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The EITC amounts to as much as $6,143 and the CTC can be up to $1,000 per child, depending on family income. These tax credits are refundable, meaning that very low-income families can still earn a partial credit.

Check out NCLR’s infographics showing how a typical Latino family in Los Angeles puts their tax credits toward necessities like groceries, rent, and utilities. For more background on the EITC and CTC, read our fact sheet.

At Long Last, Latino Employment Bounces Back

After a slow recovery and years of high unemployment for Latinos, the Hispanic unemployment rate finally returned to its prerecession lows in February. The unemployment rate hovered just above 6.5% early in 2015, rising to 6.7% in January, back down to 6.6% in February, and back up to 6.8% in March. February also marked a full 12 months of consecutive job growth above 200,000.

While these signs are encouraging, there is still much work to be done to rebuild economic security for Latino families. Wages are growing at a snail’s pace and Latinos are more likely than other workers to earn poverty-level wages. Broader job quality issues are again gaining attention. For instance, while safety in the construction industry is improving, Latino construction worker fatalities are on the rise.

Read the entire Latino Jobs Report for January, February, and March 2015!

If you don’t receive NCLR’s Latino Jobs Report, sign up today!

New Consumer Protections against Predatory Payday Loans

In late March, the CFPB launched its major effort to crack down on predatory payday loans—a primarily unregulated market. Studies indicate that such loans often trap low-income consumers in a perpetual cycle of debt and poverty.

The week of the CFPB’s big announcement, you showed your support for the proposed protections, but more work remains to be done. Exceptions allowing lenders to operate without determining borrowers’ ability to repay loans would leave some customers vulnerable to enduring debt traps.

Read our blog on the issue now!

Federal Judge Challenges Fair Pay for Home Care Workers

Home care workers caring for the nation’s elderly still are not guaranteed the federal minimum wage. Despite the exclusion of these nearly two million workers for decades, a federal judge blocked a new rule from the Department of Labor in January that would finally provide home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections.

This March, NCLR joined the Department of Labor by submitting a friend-of-the-court brief in federal appeals court supporting fair wages for home care workers. We are committed to ensuring the nation’s caregivers are not overlooked in the fight for fair wages.

Want to learn more? Read our blog post here!

Consumer Protections under Attack in Congress

Despite the achievements of the CFPB, essential consumer protections are under attack from congressional proposals seeking to undermine the agency’s crucial work.

Thank you for signing our petition to fight these noxious bills. You stood against proposals that would slow progress by replacing the CFPB director with a five-person commission, chip away at the agency’s funding, and diminish its authority over unscrupulous nonbanks.

Want to learn more about threats faced by the CFPB? Read our blog here!

What Can We Learn from Resilient Latino Youth?

Despite facing complex challenges including poverty, criminal justice issues, abuse, and living in mixed immigration status families, second-generation Latino youth are remarkably resilient. NCLR released a report in March investigating the lives and experiences of Latino youth in heavily Latino Pilsen, Chicago, and East Los Angeles.

Issuing a set of policy recommendations including full implementation of administrative relief in immigration and strong investments in communities of color, NCLR urged policymakers to support culturally appropriate, holistic programs that support positive youth development and mental health along with educational and workforce skills.

Read Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words here!

Protections Are Coming for Prepaid Cards

While the rise of prepaid cards enables low-income consumers to participate in the online economy and pay bills, the cards offer little consumer protections.

NCLR submitted public comments to the CFPB in March urging the Bureau to adopt new protections banning overdrafts and their related fees, ensuring all fees are reasonable and transparent, and requiring costumer service for limited English proficient costumers.

Read our public comments to the CFPB and our blog post here!

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Latinomics is brought to you by NCLR’s Wealth-Building Policy Project and Economic and Employment Policy Project.

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