77th Annual Meeting

CREATE A TAX-LINKED MATCHED SAVINGS PROGRAM

WHEREAS, Americans have not been saving enough to build long term assets and weather financial emergencies. This is particularly problematic for low and moderate income households, most of whom do not have even a $500 rainy day fund; and

WHEREAS, savings and asset building are associated with neighborhood and family stability, and positive health and safety outcomes for children and adults; and

WHEREAS, city governments are experimenting with new ways to financially empower families, including providing incentives in the form of matched savings; and

WHEREAS, the tax code is a powerful tool for targeting investments in low income households and encouraging behavioral change; and

WHEREAS, the tax treatment of mortgage interest, retirement savings and capital gains effectively encourages asset building among higher wealth households, but does not benefit the working poor; and

WHEREAS, tax time may be the best opportunity for low wage workers to commit to savings and a tax refund may deliver as much as one-third of a family's annual income at one time; and

WHEREAS, matched saving programs have been effective in promoting home buying, education and small business development among poor families; and

WHEREAS, innovative experiments throughout the country have found matched saving at tax time to effectively attract low income households to initiate saving, increase their savings and make a commitment to savings that lasts all year; and

WHEREAS, a national initiative to promote savings at tax time, such as a proposal create an emergency fund to handle unexpected crises or savers Bonus proposal (introduced in the 110th Congress as S. 3372) to provide a dollar for dollar match for saving for retirement, education, investment in savings bonds or 12-month CDs, would help people save for their future; and

WHEREAS, the Savers Bonus would deposit the match directly into savings vehicles held by low income, working adults, doubling the impact of their savings efforts; and

WHEREAS, the Savers Bonus would allow tax filers to open accounts right on the tax form, helping to connect the over 18.5 million unbanked Americans to mainstream financial institutions. It would also create savings opportunities through savings bonds and college savings accounts for those who cannot or do not want to open bank accounts; and

WHEREAS, the Savers Bonus Act is an important step forward in creating a national savings policy that benefits low income families the same way it helps wealthy investors, spurs investment and helps families weather financial emergencies;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to introduce and enact a tax-time matched savings bill, the Savers Bonus Act of 2009.