Similar to many of our partners across the country, we have been closely watching the Arkansas House as it continues to try and roll back so many years of work addressing poverty. The latest news—the House majority’s plan to cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to new lows—has us particularly troubled. Cuts in food assistance programs only increase food insecurity in our state, which is one of the most food-insecure states in the nation.
As part of an effort to organize and mobilize supporters, we have begun a new outreach strategy in the state. Combining traditional outreach tools, earned media, and social media networking, we have started connecting advocates across Arkansas in a way we never have before. Our message is simple: Ask lawmakers to focus on kids’ issues now and during their upcoming campaigns.
We also spent considerable time this winter and spring promoting earned income tax credit uptake across the state. Far too often we hear stories of money left on the table after tax filings. Low-wage workers routinely fail to claim a tax credit they have earned. While very conservative House members want to reduce—and in some cases eliminate—the tax credit, we continue to push for permanent adoption of enhancements made to the earned income tax credit in the past three years.
Lastly, Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families once again marked Tax Day by raising awareness of what exactly our tax dollars do. From civil protection to early education, we engaged local Arkansas leaders to explain in their own words how tax dollars enhance our communities. While none of us likes paying taxes, we all must appreciate what our shared resources provide for ourselves and our communities. You can check out all of our Tax Day work at our AR Voices blog.