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CT Kids' Advocate: "Lots to Like" in Obama Opportunity Agenda

Photo: President Obama talked up the idea of boosting the federal minimum wage at a Costco in Maryland on Wed. Connecticut advocates are applauding his focus on income inequality. Photo credit: Pete Souza, White House photographer.
Photo: President Obama talked up the idea of boosting the federal minimum wage at a Costco in Maryland on Wed. Connecticut advocates are applauding his focus on income inequality. Photo credit: Pete Souza, White House photographer.
January 30, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. – President Barack Obama talked up plans to boost the minimum wage during a multi-state road trip on Wednesday, and local advocates are applauding his decision to put the issue of income inequality front and center.

While the state already has a higher minimum wage, Matt Santacroce, a policy analyst with Connecticut Voices for Children, says it is still good to see the president pressing the issue on the national stage.

Santacroce likes that it's being raised in combination with other measures designed to help low to middle-income Americans.

"Wage equality, both for minimum-wage earners as well as for women,” Santacroce stresses. “Just sort of making sure that everybody who's going to work, and working hard, has a chance to really make ends meet."

Obama visited a Costco store in Maryland to repeat his call for more American CEOs to take action to increase their workers' wagers.

Key Republicans say the president is making promises that sound good, but won't solve the problems facing Americans.

Karen Boorshtein, president and CEO of the Family Service League, says she's glad to hear Obama championing both an increase in the minimum wage and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers.

"He wants to expand it to cover single Americans who don't have children,” she points out. “Right now, it's with children, so, obviously that's going to help someone who's struggling, still. Any tax relief they can get is terrific."

Santacroce maintains expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit will improve tax fairness at the state and federal level, and keep more money in the pockets of lower-income families – which has a variety of benefits.

"And, also as far as kids are concerned, it's been shown to have a pretty clear and significant effect, in a positive direction, on health outcomes for infants and for young children, and also for educational outcomes," he says.

Santacroce adds Connecticut just established an Office of Early Childhood, so he says it was good to hear the president discuss greater support for early learning.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT