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2009-2010 California Legislative Agenda of the Asset Building Program

April 2, 2009 |

In the current legislative session, the Asset Building Program is advancing a comprehensive legislative package of state policy intiatives to broaden savings and ownership opportunities for Californians. A listing of current bills supported by New America follows.

For the printer-friendly, PDF version of this agenda, see 'Related Files' in the righthand column.

Assembly Bill 2581 (Bradford) Banking Development Districts

This measure will incentivize banks to locate in underserved communities and develop more robust products for low-income consumers by creating banking development districts.

Assembly Bill 2457 (Salas) Financial Literacy Fund

This bill will establish a Financial Literacy Fund in the State Treasury that would authorize the Controller to accept and spend donations for statewide consumer financial literacy efforts.

Assembly Bill 125 (De Leon) California Employees' Savings Program

This measure creates a low-cost and easy way for small businesses to offer portable IRAs to their employees who lack access to retirement savings plan at the workplace. The bill establishes the CA Employees Savings Program to promote expanded retirement security for working Californians by making it easier for them to save through payroll deduction while providing small businesses with an affordable basic retirement plan to offer their employees.  

Assembly Bill 325 (Beall) California Working Families Economic Stimulus Act

This measure designated the Department of Community Services and Development as the lead agency to administer Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) outreach options specified in the Department of Social Services 2009 report to increase California’s take up rate of unclaimed 100% federally-funded dollars for working families.

Assembly Bill 550 (Lieu) California Financial Literacy Initiative

This measure codified the state's financial interest in reducing consumer debt and bolstering personal savings.  The bill created a financial literacy fund in the Office of the Treasurer to fund financial literacy efforts in the office of the Controller. It represented a much-needed commitment by the state to start addressing the root causes of personal financial struggles precipitated by a lack of consumer financial education.

Assembly Bill 1058 (Beall & Fuentes) California Workforce Mobility and Savings Initiative

This measure repeals the $2,000 asset limit in CalWORKs for current recipients and eliminates the $4,650 vehicle limit from CalWORKs eligibility rules to encourage low-income families to build the savings they need to permanently exit CalWORKs. The eligibility rules currently penalize low-income families for saving with a reduction or loss of benefits, thereby discouraging families from building the personal safety net they so desperately need to climb out of poverty and become self-sufficient. 

Senate Bill 323 (Oropeza) Tax-Time College Savings

This measure creates an easy way for California families to save for college by amending the state income tax form to allow filers to directly deposit their refund into an existing state-administered tax-advantaged 529 college savings account designed to help children and their families save for postsecondary education. Research shows that tax time is one of the best times for working families to save. 

It is at the state level, in our nation’s ‘laboratory of democracy,’ where the most innovative policies are often enacted.