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NC Budget and Tax Center

Women will join together at the Bicentennial Mall (near the state legislature) at 5pm today to demand better public policies that would improve the lives of women and families. The rally is part of the North Carolina NAACP’s Moral Monday Movement Summer of Moral Resistance, with support from women’s coalitions such as NC Women United.moralwednesday

Speakers will lift up the fallout from Governor McCrory’s and the state legislature’s policies that have been to the detriment—not the benefit—of Tar Heel women. These policy decisions include the underfunding of education from early education and care to college, shifting taxes away from the wealthy and onto everyone else, failing to expand Medicaid, refusing to give workers the dignity of a minimum wage increase, and enacting the nation’s worst voter suppression law.

Just on the economy issue alone it is easy to see why women will show up tonight and use their voices for change. Women have made tremendous economic strides over the last few decades. Yet, women are still more likely than men to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to pay the bills.

The fact that women face more economic hardships than men is well-documented in the data. Here are some quick facts from my latest poverty report, North Carolina’s Greatest Challenge, that put Tar Heel women’s economic struggle into perspective:

  • The poverty rate for women in the state was 19.3 percent in 2013 compared to 16.4 percent for men. That year, Tar Heel women earned just 82.9 cents for every dollar men earned.
  • Nearly 156,500 women in the state would have to be lifted out of poverty for women to have the same poverty rate as men.
  • Women of color face particularly high rates of poverty. In 2013, Latina, American Indian, and African American women were more than twice as likely to live in poverty as Asian and white women.
  • Three in four children who were poor lived in families with at least one worker.
  • Gender inequality extends into retirement age too: older female adults are far more likely to struggle to make ends meet than men.

Put simply, from Murphy to Manteo the economy is just downright broken for many women and their families. North Carolina needs policies that create equal opportunity and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared so that all North Carolinians can reach their potential. Yet, the policies that lawmakers are prioritizing are not aligned with the research and fail to meet this standard. Women and allies will join forces tonight to demand better choices to help ensure a better future for us all.

Your silence will not protect you—as Audre Lorde declared. Details are here if you want to join them.

NC Budget and Tax Center

In another sign of an economy that is leaving too many people behind, the share of low-income working families headed by single women is on the rise, suggesting that hard work just isn’t paying off for single mothers–especially African American single mothers. For more details, see the latest issue of Prosperity Watch.

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A hat tip to Brent Laurenz at the Center for Voter Education for pointing out this this story from earlier this morning on the GovBeat blog at the Washington Post:

“Voting-rights advocates are pushing a new line of attack on laws that require voters to show identification at the polls: The laws, they say, disproportionately impact women.

There’s anecdotal evidence in Texas, where state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) was among those who had to sign an affidavit before casting her ballot because her voter record didn’t include her middle name (Davis’s likely general election opponent in her bid for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, also had to sign an affidavit).

There is also statistical evidence that women are more likely than men to not have valid identification at the polls. That’s because women make up larger shares of just about every one of the sub-groups that are least likely to have a current, valid identification. Here are the groups most likely to be impacted:

The Poor: More than 1 million voters who fall below the poverty line live more than 10 miles away from their nearest identification-issuing office, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The cost of birth certificates, often required to obtain identification, and the IDs themselves can be a burden; having to travel, and perhaps miss work, is another hurdle to getting an ID. And according to Census data compiled by the National Women’s Law Center, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. The poverty rate among adult women over 18 was 14.6 percent in 2011, compared with 10.9 percent of men.

Seniors: The AARP says as many as one in five seniors lacks a current government-issued photo identification….”

Read the rest of the WaPo story by clicking here.

 

NC Budget and Tax Center

Disparities in economic opportunity for North Carolina’s workers have persisted for generations, including the last few decades when the state’s economy transformed away from manufacturing employment and toward service employment. These disparities have grown since the Great Recession, according to a newly released State of Working North Carolina report. Although the downturn’s economic pain was pervasive, it was not spread evenly throughout the state. The new report shows that some communities and regions were harder hit than others and continue to struggle with high unemployment and few opportunities for growth.

There are multiple storylines to this “tale of two economies” reality. One is the rural and urban divide. Read More

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The NC House released its version of the budget today, and, thankfully, the House’s budget does not include the substantial cut in health care coverage for pregnant women that was part of the NC Senate’s budget.  While a very good start showing that legislators in the House recognized the serious detrimental health effects for mother and baby of cutting health coverage, this issue will not be going completely away just yet.  Since the NC Senate included the cut for pregnant women it in its budget this cut could come back at any time.  Stay tuned.