77th Annual Meeting

POVERTY

WHEREAS, mayors from cities across the nation met in Los Angeles September 23 and 24, 2008 to develop an action agenda on poverty to present to the next President of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Los Angeles meeting culminated two years of work by the Conference of Mayors Task Force on Poverty, Work and Opportunity on this national action agenda on poverty; and

WHEREAS, the mayors agreed that:

  • The problems surrounding reducing poverty are inextricably linked and require a multifaceted approach to breaking the cycle of poverty: Where you find one entrenched problem, you likely will find another; and

  • Poor housing opportunities are related to poor education opportunities; and

  • Poor schools contribute to poor employment opportunities; and

  • The nation's dropout crisis is a particularly troubling aspect of the poverty problem; and

  • A dead-end, low wage job makes it impossible for families to build assets and financial security: Even full-time work can fail to lift workers out of poverty; and

  • It is time for a significant paradigm shift in federal policy, one that empowers mayors and other local leaders to set priorities in their areas with greater accountability for specific outcomes,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors adopts as its policy the actions called for by the mayors in the National Action Agenda on Poverty:

  • A cabinet-rank position to direct, coordinate and promote poverty reduction programs - with special emphasis on universal pre-K education across federal executive agencies and departments - should be created; and

  • Funding for universal pre-K and other early childhood programs should be increased to reach all eligible participants. Mayors recognize that student achievement is inextricably linked to early childhood education, health and nutrition, social service supports, and parental involvement; and

  • Universal healthcare for children and families - a comprehensive health insurance benefits package that will provide quality medical, dental, and mental health services for all people - should be established; and

  • The federal government should greatly expand financial literacy programs to meet a critical need in this particularly difficult economic climate. The current turmoil in the housing and credit markets underscores the growing need for local financial literacy strategies to educate city residents, at every stage of life, about financial issues; and

  • A significant portion of revenues from federally imposed fines, penalties and fees on financial institutions should be used to fund local financial education programs and initiatives.