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Study suggest ARRAct kept State residents from poverty

01.28.10

January 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Study suggest ARRAct kept State residents from poverty

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 20th- According to a recently released study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left leaning organization that conducts research and analysis on government policies and programs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRAct) likely kept 189,000 Pennsylvania residents from falling into poverty.

Pennsylvania was one of eleven states to see a statistically significant increase in the official poverty rate from 2007 to 2008, according to the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in 2008, 1.5 million Pennsylvanians, 12 percent of the population, were living below the official poverty level.

“These are difficult economic times, but the recovery act has kept things from being much worse, as this study shows. Thousands of Pennsylvania families are getting help making ends meet despite the worst recession in decades,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

The study examined the following seven provisions of the ARRAct.

• a new Making Work Pay Tax Credit of up to $400 for workers ($800 for a
couple) earning up to $95,000 (up to $190,000 for a couple);

• an expanded Child Tax Credit for lower income working families with
children;

• an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, including increased tax credit
benefits for a working family with three or more children and for married
families to lessen the marriage penalty the Earned Income Tax Credit can
otherwise impose;

• additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation benefits (paid
after a worker’s 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits expire);

• an additional $25 per week for unemployed workers to supplement their
unemployment benefits;

• a $250 one-time payment to elderly people and people with disabilities
who receive Social Security, SSI, or veterans’ benefits; and

• an increase in food stamps benefit levels.

“Congress agreed to expand the extra unemployment benefits through February. But with unemployment likely to remain high for some time, it will need to extend them futher,” said Ms. Ward.

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