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The Economic Progress Institute is a go-to source for expert information on budget and policy issues impacting the economic well-being of Rhode Islanders.

Whether it’s commenting on a hot issue, contributing an op-ed, promoting a new report or helping a reporter with background information, we work with the media to give a voice to low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders in the news.

If you are a member of the media, and would like to set up an interview with someone from the Economic Progress Institute, contact:

Juan Espinoza, Communications & Outreach Associate
Office (401) 456-2752
Cell (813) 526-3043
[email protected]

Resources

We are happy to provide you with any background information that will help you with your story. Here are some frequently-used resources:

RHODE ISLAND CHARTS A PATH AROUND FEDERAL ROAD BLOCKS
Approximately 200 people attended The Economic Progress Institute’s 9th annual Policy and Budget Conference, Budget Rhode Map: Our Path Around Federal Road Blocks. Each year, the Institute hosts a half-day conference to educate policymakers, community leaders, and interested residents about critical policy challenges and opportunities facing Rhode Island. This year’s conference highlighted potential federal policy changes that may negatively impact our state, with a focus on health care and workers’ rights and wages. Executive Director Rachel Flum and Board Chair Lisa Roth Blackmun welcomed participants. Governor Gina Raimondo and Senate Finance Chairman William Conley gave opening remarks.

U.S. HOUSE ACA REPEAL BILL WOULD MEAN MORE UNINSURED, COSTLIER COVERAGE IN RHODE ISLAND
A recently released report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities summarizes the wide-ranging harm to Rhode Islanders, the health care system and the state’s economy that would result from the US House ACA repeal bill – the American Health Care Act, (AHCA). The bill would effectively end Medicaid expansion, which has provided access to comprehensive health insurance coverage to 70,000 low-income adults age 19 – 65, raise costs for the 30,000 people who buy coverage through HealthSource RI, and shift $3 billion in Medicaid costs to the state over ten years.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS PAY $31.2 MILLION IN STATE & LOCAL TAXES IN RHODE ISLAND
Undocumented immigrants contribute $11.7 billion to state and local coffers each year, including $31.2 million in Rhode Island, according to a new study released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). The study, Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions, also estimates that Rhode Island would gain more than $6 million under comprehensive immigration reform.

BILLS INTRODUCED IN HOUSE AND SENATE SEEK TO IMPROVE RHODE ISLAND’S PAID FAMILY LEAVE PROGRAM
Bills introduced by Senator Gayle Goldin and Representative Shelby Maldonado would provide more security for workers and their families by expanding access to the state’s paid family leave program, the Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program (TCI). TCI provides up to four weeks of partial (about 60%) wage replacement for workers who need to take time from their jobs to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newborn, adopted, or foster child. Proposed amendments to the law, which became effective in January, 2014, would respond to research on the effectiveness of the program, by increasing the number of weeks, the amount of wage replacement and other changes.

WORK SUPPORT PROGRAMS HELP RHODE ISLANDERS MAKE ENDS MEET WHEN WAGES AREN’T ENOUGH
For many Rhode Island working families, tax credits and other work supports help close the gap between earnings and basic living expenses, according to the Rhode Island Standard of Need (RISN), a report released by the Economic Progress Institute. Child care and health care subsidies are particularly vital for working families.

ECONOMIC PROGRESS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Economic Progress Institute is pleased to announce that Carolyn Mark, Chair of the East Greenwich school committee, and Dr. Eric Hirsch, Professor of Sociology at Providence College, have joined the Institute’s Board of Directors.

LATEST POVERTY FIGURES SHOW TOO MANY RHODE ISLANDERS STILL STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET
Over one hundred forty thousand (141,035) Rhode Islanders lived in poverty in 2015, according to new data released today from the Census Bureau. The drop in the rate to 13.9% in 2015 from 14.1% in 2014 is not statistically significant. The poverty level for a family of four is approximately $24,000.

MORE RHODE ISLANDERS HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE THANKS TO HEALTH CARE REFORM.
(September 13, 2016)
New Census data show that the percentage of uninsured Rhode Islanders was 5.7 percent in 2015, half the rate it was in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect.  In 2014, 7.4% were uninsured.

STATE ESTATE TAXES ARE VITAL TOOLS FOR BROADLY SHARED PROSPERITY (May 11, 2016)
A new report released this morning by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities emphasizes the importance of state estate taxes as tools for broadly shared prosperity and as a means to ensure that the very wealthy don’t avoid taxes by sheltering their wealth.

LEGISLATORS SHOULD PRIORITIZE RHODE ISLAND WORKERS (May 4, 2016)
On Friday it was reported in the Providence Journal that Speaker Mattiello’s budget priorities include reducing the estate tax by increasing the threshold for paying the tax from $1.5 to $2 million at an estimated cost of $4.3 million, as well reducing the corporate minimum tax from $450 to $400 at an estimated cost of $3.2 million. Reducing the estate tax and corporate minimum tax will provide little benefit to the overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders and are not a good use of public funds.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS PAY $33.4 MILLION IN STATE & LOCAL TAXES IN RHODE ISLAND
(February 25, 2016)

Undocumented immigrants contribute more than $11.6 billion to state and local coffers each year, including $33.4 million in Rhode Island, according to a new study released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic  Policy (ITEP). The study, Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions, also estimates that Rhode Island stands to gain $2.5 million in increased revenue under full implementation of the Obama administration’s 2012 and 2014 executive actions and by more than $7.0 million under comprehensive immigration reform.

WHY IT’S TIME FOR RHODE ISLAND TO INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE (February 24, 2016)
A new paper released yesterday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) highlights the importance of investing in infrastructure. Doing so creates jobs today, and lays the foundation for future prosperity.

MANY RHODE ISLANDERS STILL STRUGGLING, ESPECIALLY WITH HOMEOWNERSHIP, CFED REPORT FINDS (January 25, 2016)
New data released today by CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development), a national partner of Rhode Island’s Economic Progress Institute, shows that too many Rhode Island families remain economically vulnerable. Smart public policies that create opportunities for families to save and make investments in their future prosperity pay huge dividends for all of us. The Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, now published annually, shows Rhode Island ranked 35th overall in Outcomes, despite ranking 8th overall in the Scorecard’s Policy measures.

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES FACED BY RHODE ISLAND WORKERS OF COLOR (Dec 17, 2015)
The Institute released a report entitled, “The State of Working Rhode Island: Workers of Color”, which highlights the many challenges facing Rhode Island workers, showing the many areas where workers of color fare less well than others. The Institute also released an accompanying Policy Recommendations document showing that there are policy solutions within our grasp that can shift economic trends that have been holding Rhode Island families back.

REPORTS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR CHILD CARE CHANGES – BOTH FOR FAMILIES NEEDING CHILD CARE AND WORKERS PROVIDING CARE (Nov 13, 2015)

Two recent papers released by the DC-based Economic Policy Institute have highlighted the economic impact of child care on American working families. The Economic Progress Institute and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT are partnering to highlight the findings of these papers for Rhode Island families, and those working to provide child care for Ocean State children.

DOUGLAS HALL JOINS EPI AS DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC & FISCAL POLICY (Oct 8, 2015)

The Economic Progress Institute is pleased to announce that Douglas Hall, Ph.d. has joined the staff of the Institute as its new Director of Economic and Fiscal Policy.

ECONOMIC PROGRESS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP (Sept 22, 2015)
Eleven years after stepping in to succeed her mentor and co-founder of the Economic Progress Institute Nancy Gewirtz, Kate Brewster is stepping down as executive director to take on a new challenge.

LATEST POVERTY FIGURES UNDERSCORE NEED FOR INCREASED STATE EITC (Sept 17, 2015)

The Institute issued a press release on the latest US Census Bureau poverty figures which show that one  in seven Rhode Islanders have serious problems paying for food, housing, and other basic needs. With so many Rhode Islanders continuing to struggle to make ends meet, the need to further increase the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit is greater than ever.

RESPONSE TO THE STATE’S 2015 TAX CREDIT AND INCENTIVE REPORT (Aug 18, 2015)

The Institute issued a press statement on the Annual Tax Credit and Incentive Report which shows that Rhode Island gave up more than $30M in revenue to five economic development tax credits last year. While the information provided in the report is important, it tells us nothing about whether these tax incentives have been effective tools for growing our state’s economy. That was supposed to change this year.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO LIVE IN THE OCEAN STATE? (August 18, 2015)

The Institute released its updated Cost of Living Calculator, an interactive tool that shows how much a family needs to earn to enjoy a secure, yet modest standard of living in the Ocean State.

FREE TAX PREPARATION HELPS WORKING FAMILIES (March 6, 2015)

The Institute issued press releases to local communities informing them of VITA site awareness day and the importance of tax credits to working families.

OCEAN STATE TAX CODE ASKS THOSE WITH LEAST TO PAY THE MOST (January 14, 2015)

The Institute co-released the latest Who Pays? report with the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy which shows that the lowest-income Rhode Islanders pay nearly twice as much of their income towards state and local taxes as the wealthiest taxpayers.

WORKING FAMILIES STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET (December 17, 2014)
The Institute releases its biennial report, The Rhode Island Standard of Need, showing what is costs to live and raise a family in the Ocean State, and how tax credits, food assistance and child care and health care subsidies help close the gap between earnings and expenses.

TOO MANY RHODE ISLANDERS STRUGGLING TO MEET THE BASICS (September 18, 2014)

New census data reveals poverty and income remain unchanged in Rhode Island in 2013, underscoring the need for the state to do more to help the one in seven Rhode Islanders who can’t afford the basics and struggle to make ends meet.

NEW TAX PLAN GIVES TO WEALTHY, TAKES FROM LOW-INCOME RHODE ISLANDERS (June 2014)
New analysis shows few winners and lots of losers in tax reform. The state’s latest spending plan cuts $3.9M in tax assistance to low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders while giving $9M in big tax breaks to the heirs of wealthy estates.

INCOME INEQUALITY GREW SIGNIFICANTLY IN RHODE ISLAND SINCE RECOVERY (Feb 19, 2014)

Incomes at all levels declined as a result of the Great Recession and lopsided income growth has reemerged since the recovery began in 2009… Between 2009 and 2011, income growth was 17.3 percent for the top 1% of Rhode Island earners, while the bottom 99% suffered a 4.3 percent loss in income.

NEARLY 40% OF RI HOUSEHOLDS ARE ONE CRISIS AWAY FROM FINANCIAL DEVASTATION (Jan 30, 2014)

A recent report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) finds that 38.7 percent of Rhode Islanders are “liquid asset poor” or “in a persistent state of financial insecurity,” meaning that they lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses for three months in the event of an emergency (e.g. job loss). Rhode Island ranked 40th nationally in the financial security of residents.

POVERTY, INCOME UNCHANGED LAST YEAR IN RHODE ISLAND (Sept 19, 2013)

Poverty rates and median household income in Rhode Island remained relatively unchanged in 2012 at 13.7% and $54,554 respectively, according to the latest figures released by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).  Analysis of ACS data for 2012 illustrates the ongoing struggle of Rhode Island residents in the wake of the recession.

125,000 RHODE ISLANDERS UNDER AGE 65 LACKED HEALTH INSURANCE IN 2012 (Sept 17, 2013)

According to data from the 2012 Current Population Survey, the number of uninsured non-elderly individuals living in The Ocean State has not changed significantly since the previous collection period. Rhode Island claims the highest share of uninsured in New England, the 15th lowest rate in the country.

AS LABOR DAY APPROACHES, NEW REPORT PROVIDES EVIDENCE THAT INVESTING IN EDUCATION WILL BUILD A STRONGER RHODE ISLAND ECONOMY (Aug 19, 2013)

A new paper published by the Economic Policy Institute entitled, “A Well Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity,”  highlights the correlation between educational attainment and higher wages.  As states like Rhode Island shift from an industrial- to knowledge-based economy, investments to empower a well-educated and productive workforce are critical.

RESPONSE TO THE STATE’S 2013 TAX CREDIT AND INCENTIVE REPORT (Aug 16, 2013)

The Institute responds to the Annual report shows that Rhode Island gave up close to $18M in revenueto five economic development tax credits last year.  Thanks to a newlaw, in the future Rhode Islanders will know whether these and other taxcredits are cost-effective economic development strategies.

RHODE ISLAND MILITARY FAMILIES RELY ON WORKING FAMILY TAX CREDITS

The Institute co-released “Working-Family Tax Credits Help Over 1 Million Military Families: Credits Keep More Than 140,000 Veteran and Active-Duty Families Out of Poverty”.  This report shows that roughly 3,000 military families in RI received these credits.

ECO. DEVELOPMENT TAX INCENTIVES EVALUATION ACT PASSES SENATE, MOVES TO HOUSE (June 14, 2013)

Chairman DaPonte sponsored a bill requiring a host of tax expenditures related to economic development be evaluated every three years to assess whether the state is using it’s resources in the most effective way possible.

COLLEGE TUITION HIKES IN RI AMONG WORST IN COUNTRY, NEW REPORT SHOWS (March 13, 2013)

Governor Chafee’s proposal to increase state spending on higher education b y $6 million and freeze tuition is critical to Rhode Island students, families and the economy – given findings from a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.

POOREST RI HOUSEHOLDS PAY ALMOST TWICE AS MUCH IN TAXES AS WEALTHIEST HOUSEHOLDS (January 30, 2013)

The Institute co-released “Who Pays?” with the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.  The study analyzes the fairness of state tax systems, and found Rhode Island is among the ten states that taxes the poor the most heavily.

HIGH COST OF LIVING MAKES WORK SUPPORTS CRUCIAL FOR RI FAMILIES (November 15, 2012) 

The Institute releases its biennial report showing what is costs to live and raise a family in the Ocean State, and how tax credits, food assistance and child care and health care subsidies help close the gap between earnings and expenses.

The ECONOMIC PROGRESS INSTITUTE ADDS SIX NEW BOARD MEMBERS (September 24, 2012)  The Institute welcomes six new outstanding individuals to its board of directors.

NUMBER OF RHODE ISLANDERS IN POVERTY REMAINS HIGH (September 20, 2012)The Institute provides data from the 2011 American Community Survey that shows poverty is still high in Rhode Island, and deep poverty is rising.

120,500 RHODE ISLANDERS UNDER 65 LACK HEALTH INSURANCE (September 12, 2012)  The Institute describes census data that shows the number of Rhode Islanders without health insurance remains unchanged, as national number declines.  Share of state residents without insurance is worst in New England.

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