A recent report published by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis discusses the importance of state-level asset-building coalitions in triggering public policies that support greater asset-building opportunities for people of all incomes.
Such coalitions call for diverse representation from around the state and inclusion of wider policy ideas, beyond the prevalent Earned Income Tax Credit and Individual Development Account initiatives that target only the low-income population.
The report states that the lack of diverse representation of ideas among asset coalitions may hurt the asset-building movement by creating a negative political impact in states, diminishing the opportunities for broad legislative engagement.
Let’s hope the leaders of Oregon’s asset-building initiative read this report closely. The asset-building movement in Oregon, as in any other state, cannot survive as a stand-alone social service program for only target populations. It also requires a well-informed and concerned legislature that would push for policies supporting wide-ranging asset programs for all income groups.
For that to happen, policy institutes are needed to explore new ideas and policy options and to inform both the public and the legislature. Policy institutes should be engaged in the process and not be perceived merely as forced partners with the service providers.
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