Good morning, Councilmembers, and thank you for the opportunity to testify at this hearing. My name is Judy Berman, and I am Deputy Director of DC Appleseed, a non-profit public policy research and advocacy organization that works to make the National Capital Area a better place to live and work.
In 2007, DC Appleseed and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) were invited to join the Working Poor Families Project (www.workingpoorfamilies.org)–a national effort funded at the time by the Annie E. Casey, Ford, Joyce and Charles Stewart Mott Foundations to improve the economic security of the working poor. Building on the work of the Brookings Institute and others, DC Appleseed and DCFPI produced Hometown Prosperity: Increasing Opportunities for DC’s Low-Income Working Families which describes working poor families in the District, the barriers they face to economic advancement, and essential policy changes that could improve their situation. A copy of that report is attached.
Among those policy changes that we advocated in Hometown Prosperity are several that are included in the legislation before the Council today. They are:
– Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation
– Increasing the standard tax deduction
– Protecting income and job security through paid sick leave.
I will speak briefly to each of these in turn, and, rather than addressing any specific bill, will encourage the Council to craft legislation that draws from each of the bills under consideration, and supports key policies certain to help increase economic security for the District’s low-income working families.