Stable Families and a Strong Workforce
December 17, 2018
Since 2013, the Connecticut Asset Building Collaborative (CABC) has been the state’s leading organization to connect financial literacy practitioners and thought leaders to promote policies and practices that ensure stability for Connecticut families. The CABC supports Governor-elect Lamont’s proposals to increase the minimum wage and establish paid family and medical leave. These measures will increase the financial stability of Connecticut families, address growing economic inequality and build a robust workforce that can earn and save towards higher education, home-ownership, retirement and emergency saving funds. To maximize the impact of these policies changes, they must be bolstered with broad family economic security and workforce development initiatives. Ensuring the vigorous financial health of Connecticut families will enhance the state’s economy with a strong consumer base and reliable workforce for Connecticut businesses and employers.
The following summarizes CABC’s policy and best-practice recommendations to expand opportunities for Connecticut families and enhance the incoming administration’s policy agenda to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid family medical leave:
1. Support Financial Health of Low/Moderate Income Consumers
- Promote strategies to reduce the burden of consumer debt and increase savings.
- Increase publicity and expand the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
- Support replication of the Financial Empowerment Center model.
- Reduce/remove state imposed asset limits and benefit cliffs in public benefit programs that are disincentives for saving and employment.
2. Encourage Banks to Better Serve Connecticut Families
- Promote and replicate the New Haven BankOn program (a national model encouraging banks to develop safe and affordable accounts with no overdraft capability and assist consumers to learn about and access these accounts)
- Take steps to integrate BankOn options into state level programs that provide payments.
3. Complement the Increased Minimum Wage and Family and Medical Leave Benefits with Additional Workforce Supports
- Create a state-wide fund to assist employees with family crises and emergencies
- Support expanding access to benefits for traditional employees and the self-employed, such as buy-in to large group purchase health insurance pools and developing retirement savings accounts through the Connecticut Retirement Savings Board.
- Create tax-incentives for small business that can be used for workforce support and development.
For more specifics on best practices and recommendations - see our White Paper in PDF form as presented to the Lamont and Wooden transition teams here. For the paper with expanded information go here in the policy section of the website.