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REPRINT: Asset Building Program Advancing Savings and Financial Security Bills

Asset Building Program Advancing Savings and Financial Security Bills Source: California Center for Research on Women & Families (

April 23, 2009 by Kate Karpilow

An update from Olivia Calderon, California Legislative Director of the Asset Building Program of New America Foundation:

New America is advancing 5 bills this year to help working families build their savings and financial security. All of our bills (listed below) are moving through the legislative process, several with overwhelming bipartisan support.

· Assembly Bill 325 (Beall) California Working Families Economic Stimulus Act – seeks to draw down millions in unclaimed 100% federally-funded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) dollars for working families by designating the Department of Community Services and Development as the lead agency to administer the (EITC) outreach options specified in the Department of Social Services report due out in the spring of 2009. This bill is co-sponsored by Catholic Charities of California and New America.

· Assembly Bill 1058 (Beall & Fuentes) California Workforce Mobility and Savings Initiative – repeals the asset limit for CalWORKs recipients and raises the asset limit for applicants to encourage low-income families to build the savings they need to permanently exit CalWORKs. The eligibility rules currently penalize low-income families for saving with a reduction or loss of benefits, thereby discouraging families from building the personal safety net they so desperately need to climb out of poverty and become self-sufficient. This bill is sponsored by New America.

· Assembly Bill 125 (De Leon) California Employees’ Savings Program – creates a voluntary, universal, portable retirement savings account for California workers who do not have access to a retirement savings plan at their workplace. The account supplements the current employer-based system and Social Security. It promotes expanded retirement security for working Californians by making it easier for them to save through payroll deduction while providing small businesses a basic retirement savings plan to offer their employees. This bill is co-sponsored by AARP California and New America.

· Assembly Bill 550 (Lieu) California Financial Literacy Initiative – creates a financial literacy program in the office of the Controller funded by a financial literacy fund established in the Office of the Treasurer. It represents a much-needed commitment by the state to start addressing the root causes of personal financial struggles precipitated by a lack of consumer financial education and codifies the state’s financial interest in reducing consumer debt and bolstering personal savings. This bill is co-sponsored by California State Controller John Chiang and New America.

· Senate Bill 323 (Oropeza) Tax-Time College Savings – creates an easy way for California families to save for college by amending the state income tax form to allow filers to directly deposit their refund into an existing state-administered tax-advantaged 529 college savings account designed to help children and their families save for post-secondary education. This bill is sponsored by California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

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