The Economic Progress Institute (The EPI) is a leader in making important gains for tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders. Here are some recent examples of our impact.
Affordable Child Care for More Working Families
Affordable child care for working parents Due to years of cuts in state support during tight budget times, many modest-income parents lost eligibility for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program. The program enables parents to work and provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing a child is getting quality care. Our efforts have led to expanding eligibility, saving families hundreds of dollars each month in child care expenses.
Accounting for all state spending
For years, Rhode Island never examined big tax breaks to businesses to see whether they created the jobs their supporters promised. As a result of The EPI’s research and advocacy, a new law requires tax breaks to be evaluated to determine whether they are effective and if the state is getting a bang for its buck.
Investing in worker skills
For too long, Rhode Island failed to invest in workers who didn’t have the skills to compete in today’s economy. The EPI leads a coalition that includes business, labor and skills training providers which has led to expanded state programs that prepare workers for our changing economy.
A healthier Rhode Island
Today tens of thousands more Rhode Islanders are able to see a doctor and get ongoing care instead of showing up at the emergency room, thanks to new opportunities made available by the,Affordable Care Act. Through our partnerships with community groups and state agencies we provide outreach and public education to help eligible Rhode Islanders enroll in affordable health care. We’ve identified barriers to access and proposed solutions to overcome obstacles to enrollment.
Making work pay
Workers who are paid enough to support their families are also good customers whose purchasing power strengthens the economy. The EPI advanced changes to two important pillars of economic growth: raising the minimum wage and putting more money in the pockets of thousands of workers by strengthening the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
Raising revenue in a fair way
When large, profitable corporations get millions of dollars in tax breaks, someone else has to pay. Low-income and middle-class Rhode Islanders pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest Rhode Islanders. The EPI’s work in closing corporate tax loopholes is one example of how we have helped level the playing field when it comes to who pays taxes.
We have successfully raised awareness about the economic challenges facing the state and its residents by:
- Commenting in over 400 media stories at the local, regional, and national level since 2008, and producing and hosting more than twenty cable access programs on topics related to our mission.
- Training over one thousand social service providers about the government-sponsored work support programs that help lower wage working families make ends meet and about the safety-net programs that help Rhode Islanders in crisis.
- Creating the web-based Guide to Assistance Programs, a vital tool to help Rhode Islanders understand the assistance available to them in the areas of income supports, food assistance, health care, child care and more.
- Publishing numerous full-length reports, issue briefs, fact sheets, op-eds, and other documents that we disseminate to policymakers, community leaders, and other interested parties.
- Testifying on a host of bills in order to educate policymakers about the impact of proposed legislation on the fiscal health of the state and its residents.
- Hosting our annual budget conference and encore presentations which have been attended by hundreds of policymakers, community leaders and members of the public who are interested in state fiscal and policy issues.