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Hard Work Not Working for Nearly Half a Million Arkansas Households

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark., March 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Despite news that our economy is one of the strongest in history, the reality is that 474,000 Arkansas households — 41% of households in the state — are trapped by low wages and rising costs and are unable to afford basic needs.

The ALICE in Arkansas report, released today by Entergy Arkansas and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, paints a surprising picture of the scale of financial barriers experienced by nearly half a million households across the state. Around every corner and in every community, people are struggling to make ends meet. These are hardworking individuals — our neighbors and our loved ones, our teachers and childcare providers, health aids and dental hygienists, mechanics and store clerks — that keep Arkansas’ economic engine running, but they aren’t always sure that they can put food on their own tables. 

ALICE in Arkansas is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in Arkansas to date. It upends conventional views of financial stability based on unemployment and job reports. Standing for Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, ALICE households have incomes above the Federal Poverty Line but struggle to afford basic household necessities, such as housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Entergy will co-release the ALICE in Arkansas Report at 11 a.m. March 10 at a press conference at the State Capitol. “When two out of five households in the state can’t make ends meet, the system is broken,” says Sherece West-Scantlebury, CEO of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. “Working harder – when ALICE is already working two or three jobs – won’t fix it and only diverts attention away from the kinds of decisions and policies required to make good on the American Dream promise.” 

Based on the Federal Poverty Line (FPL),17 percent of Arkansas households lived in poverty in 2017 and another 24 percent were ALICE households. That’s a combined 41 percent, or 473,955 households, with income below the ALICE Threshold in 2017. Results of the report show that the total number of Arkansas households that cannot afford basic needs increased 20 percent between 2007 and 2017. During that same time, the cost of basic household necessities in Arkansas increased by 32 percent, far more than the increases in overall inflation and wages. 

“The ALICE report highlights the hardships for families whose income puts them above the limit for public assistance but struggle with the cost of child care, health care, and the children’s extra expenses,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “This report emphasizes the need to continue our effort to create high-wage jobs and the importance of Arkansas Works health coverage for struggling families.”

The report is a project of United For ALICE, a grassroots movement of some 600 United Ways in 21 states, corporations and foundations, all using the same methodology to document financial need. ALICE Reports provide county-by-county and town-level data, and analysis of how many households are struggling, including the obstacles ALICE households face on the road to financial independence.

For ALICE, a basic setback — like a car repair or even a minor illness — has the potential to escalate and leave a family vulnerable and spiraling, according to the data.

“At Entergy, we recognize that many hardworking people can’t make ends meet or afford basic needs — including electricity. We support ALICE in Arkansas and this report that helps shine a light on the large number of households struggling and why,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, LLC. “We invest millions in our communities to help improve the quality of life for customers. We believe that we can only be as strong as the communities we serve.” 

Across the state, the share of households earning below the ALICE Threshold ranged from 26 percent in Benton County to 64 percent in Lee County. Other findings in the report include: 

  • The average Household Survival Budget (a calculation created for the ALICE report) for an Arkansas family of four is $46,812 — significantly higher than the federally recognized family poverty level of $24,600. (The Single Household Survival Budget is $18,240, with the FDL set at $12,060.)
  • Low-wage jobs continue to dominate the landscape in Arkansas, with more than half (51 percent) of all jobs paying less than $15 per hour.
  • In the Household Survival Budget, child care represents an Arkansas family’s greatest expense, at a state average of $761 per month for two children.
  • ALICE lives in every county in Arkansas — urban, suburban, and rural — and includes women and men who are single, married, young and old. White households make up the largest demographic — 69% — mirroring Arkansas’ majority-White population. But while there are fewer Black and Hispanic households, they are disproportionately likely to be ALICE.

“At Entergy, we know ALICE well. As many as 74% of the calls handled by our call centers annually are from households that face some level of financial hardship,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Entergy vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. “These are households that struggle month to month and that are often just one calamity away from financial ruin.”

The ALICE in Arkansas report can provide a basis for policies that help make the Arkansas economy work for everyone. “We need smart decisions and policies that put working families first and benefit the entire state,” says West-Scantlebury. “If Arkansas households earned at least the ALICE survival budget, we’d have $8.4 billion more in taxable wages and $6.9 billion more in consumer spending. Not only is that more money back in your pocket, but it’s more revenue — $2.2. billion to be exact — to invest in small businesses, schools, hospitals, and public transportation.” 

To view a copy of the report, visit http://www.ALICEinAR.org/.

Additional quotes about ALICE in Arkansas can be found at the bottom of this email. 

About the Winthrop Rockefeller FoundationThe Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation exists to relentlessly pursue economic, educational, social, ethnic, and racial equity for all Arkansans. We believe that building pathways to opportunity requires broad systemic change. This comprehensive approach may take longer to prove impact, but we believe that it has a greater chance to be impactful and sustainable. We look for levers that offer the greatest promise to increase prosperity from one generation to the next. For more information, go to www.wrfoundation.org. 

About EntergyEntergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,500 employees. For more information, go to entergy-arkansas.com.ALICE Advisory Board members available for interviews and quotes about ALICE in Arkansas:

“While there are some positive economic indicators in Arkansas, especially near all-time low unemployment, the ALICE measures reveal that these economic benefits are not reaching all households,” explains Stephanie Hoopes, PhD, author of the report and national director of United For ALICE. “In Arkansas, as across the country, the wages in many jobs that ensure our economy runs smoothly are not keeping up with the basic cost of living.”– Stephanie Hoopes, PhD. National Director, United For ALICE and author of the ALICE in Arkansas reportUnited Way of Northern New Jersey

“The federal poverty guidelines are no guide to finding ALICE in Arkansas. ALICE’s story is as common as it is complex, and it is a story that looks different from different eyes: for cash poor white folks, for POC, women, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and people with disabilities–each person living the ALICE story has their own constraints that are preventing them from living a life of choice, a life of security and of freedom. They are cooking our food, caring for our elders, and we need an economy that respects these heroes who keep Arkansas’ economic engine running.”– Stephen Coger, DirectorArkansas Immigrant DefenseSpringdale, Arkansas

“The ALICE study definitively supports what we have seen time and time again in our work: that Arkansans are increasingly burdened by systems of economic injustice that disproportionately oppress people of color and the poor. DecARcerate sees these realities on a daily basis, as we work to address the often unbearable burden of fines, fees, and bail. ALICE families are trapped in debt spirals that make it nearly impossible for them to exit the criminal injustice system. In order to address these harms and create an equitable landscape for all Arkansans, we must provide everyone in our state with equal access to resources and dismantle systems that continue to divide and marginalize.”– Zachary Crow, DecARcerate DirectorLittle Rock

“Creating pathways to entrepreneurialism is key to a strong, diverse economy. Yet the ALICE in Arkansas report shines a bright light on the barriers that keep ALICE from accessing those pathways. The only way we can truly innovate Arkansas’ economic ecosystem is if we are strategic and deliberate about removing the real barriers preventing ALICE from actively engaging.”– Christopher Jones, Ph.D., Executive DirectorThe Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub Little Rock

“Far too long, the narrative around the economy has focused on the extremes. The ALICE report disrupts this narrative as it demonstrates that ALICE is someone you know, she is the average working Arkansan. ALICE is working for Arkansas; it is time that Arkansas works for ALICE.”– Anna Beth Gorman, Executive DirectorWomen’s Foundation of ArkansasLittle Rock

“The ALICE report brings into sharp focus the families we see every day in our communities: working Arkansans struggling to achieve economic mobility. For nearly 40 years, Southern Bancorp has provided the basic foundations for wealth building, from access to capital to credit repair and financial education. Yet so much more is needed. Without widespread acknowledgment of the realities facing ALICE households, and a commitment to repair the policy environment around them, working Arkansans will continue to be limited in their ability to not only survive but thrive.”– Janie Ginocchio, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Southern BancorpLittle Rock

“ALICE families–often made up of the heroic professionals like teachers and health aids that are the backbone of our economy–are trapped in an inequitable economic system that is not designed to fairly reward them for their hard work. ALICE serves as a lens to help us uncover the historical and continuing patterns of discrimination and disinvestment that stall upward economic mobility for thousands of Arkansas workers and their children. The ALICE in Arkansas report serves as a framework for activating the kind of courageous, inclusive leadership we need to secure Arkansas’ future.”– Donald Wood, Executive Director Just Communities of ArkansasLittle Rock

For more information or to set up interviews, contact Joelle Polisky at 615-526-0358

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hard-work-not-working-for-nearly-half-a-million-arkansas-households-301020829.html

SOURCE Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation



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California’s vague new financial regulation law – Orange County Register

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Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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Erie Homecoming 2020 to take place virtually

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Erie Homecoming 2020: “Erie’s Economic Evolution” is happening this week.

Erie Homecoming is an event that shares the vision of where we are going as a business community and the specific projects that will be taking us there.

Yoselin Person was live outside of the Erie Regional Chamber to tell us more about what’s taking place at this year’s homecoming.

Get your favorite hot drink because Erie Homecoming is happening virtually. 

Rooms full of people just aren’t happening in the midst of a pandemic, so Erie Homecoming is an event that will inspire you from comfort of your home or office.

The purpose of homecoming is to give attendees the opportunity to learn how they can invest in the Erie community.

During this two day event, you will be able to learn how you can invest the time, talent and treasure in creating a more diverse and prosperous Erie community.

Erie’s Black Wall Street will be featured this year. It’s a nonprofit organization that’s known for improving black business.

“So, having it geared towards helping black businesses expand and spread their wings, I think that’s amazing,” said Alexandria Ellis, owner, She Vintage.

Ellis began her business six months ago. She says Erie Black Wall Street is a safe space where black entrepreneurs can connect and collaborate with others.

The organization also helps others with credit repair.

“They’ve helped me by connecting me with resources if someone is looking for a nail tech or a boutique that’s black owned, they have connected customers of their clients to me through their organization,” said Ellis.

Speakers from the black owned organization will speak about creating regional equity.

There will also be a discussion about Flagship Opportunity Zones and what it means in terms of tax and other investment incentives.

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RiverBend Growth Association announces new members | Business

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RiverBend Growth Association encourages use of face coverings

The RiverBend Growth Association announces its new members:

5 Diamond Campground

Brian Campbell and Matt Diamond

2 Fun Lane

Hartford IL 62048

(618) 254-1180

facebook.com/5-Diamond-Campground-103976501423687

Alton Pride Inc.

Jason Heeren, director of sponsorship

P.O. Box 662

Alton IL 62002

(618) 204-7420

https://altonpride.com

Alton Pride is a charitable and educational organization established to bring awareness, understanding, and advocacy to the LGBTQ+ community with an emphasis on the specific needs of the youth within the community. We are setting ourselves apart from other Pride organizations by focusing on giving back to our community, rather than hosting just a parade or festival. We will be depositing a majority of event proceeds into a structured account funding our goal to develop a local teen suicide prevention line and a teen resource center to help youth in need.

 

Imo’s Pizza – Bethalto

Lori Bromberg, president/treasurer and managing partner

515 N. Bellwood

Bethalto IL 62010

(618) 258-0011

www.imospizza.com

Bethalto Imo’s is owned by Charles and Barbara (Babs) Pelan. Barbara was a nurse and Charles has had a varied career but has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He and Babs purchased the Bethalto Imo’s in 2013 and seeing the success of the brand and the store in Bethalto were anxious to purchase the Edwardsville Imo’s franchise in 2014.

Their daughter, Lori Bromberg, is the managing partner and provides leadership and daily oversight to the business. Lori has a bachelor of science degree in management and has 31-plus years in corporate leadership roles, including customer experience, supply chain, distribution strategy, change management, hr/talent management, training and safety. Lori also is a certified mentor for SCORE providing mentoring and coaching to small businesses.

While it is our goal to have a financially successful business, we believe the cornerstones to achieving success is ensuring a superior product and customer experience, investment in our employees, positive contributions to our community, while demonstrating a strong commitment to safety. We pride ourselves on our commitment to Imo’s corporate mission, “To maintain the Imo’s tradition of uncompromising quality, pride in Imo’s products, and passion for success and for customers to experience a genuine, original St. Louis pizza of the highest quality, served in a pleasant atmosphere or at home, so that they too will have reason to say: “Imo’s is my favorite pizza.”

If you frequent our Bethalto location, we will be moving down the street a little over a mile, still on 111, within the next month or so.  We will continue to have delivery and pick-up as well as offer new patio seating.

 

Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation Inc.

Mark Kratschmer, president

5800 Godfrey Road, ER 0210

Godfrey IL 62035

(618) 468-2010

www.lc.edu/About_the_Foundation/

The Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the state of Illinois. The foundation supports Lewis and Clark Community College and its students through scholarships, awards, and other assistance.

Piasa Body Art

Cody Hinkle, owner

560 E. Broadway

Alton IL 62002

(618) 462-1720

Alton’s best body art shop, offering tattoos and piercing services. Now with The Salon for all your hair care and barbering needs!

Prosper Credit Consultants

Jerheart Huntley, owner

525 Wyss Ave.

Alton IL 62002

(877) 503-7465

prospercreditconsultants.com

Credit repair that works! Prosper Credit Consultants uses the most innovative processes to make sure our clients are educated on how credit repair works! Prosper Credit Consultants is dedicated to educating our clients on how to get and keep good credit! We have become a one-stop shop for all things from credit repair, building credit for beginners, trade lines, putting our clients in position to purchase that new car, and home they want. Give us a call (877) 503-7465 or set up a free credit consultation.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the chamber of commerce and economic development organization for the 12 communities known as the Riverbend.  For more information about the Growth Association, visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.

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