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Lisa Mensah Discusses Building Wealth at Tax Time for Low-Income Families

December 7, 2012  • Institute Contributor

On December 7, 2012 the Center on American Progress (CAP) hosted a discussion in Washington D.C. entitled “Building Wealth at Tax Time for Low-Income Families.”

Joe Valenti, Director of Assett Building at CAP, moderated a panel on the importance of building wealth at tax time.  Panelists started by describing various pilots around the country that have demonstrated that lower-income people can save at tax-time when given the appropriate structures and incentives.   Mitchell Kent of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs described the SaveUSA program, a city-driven matched savings demonstration that began in New York.  Krista Holub, of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, talked about Refund2Savings (R2S), a large-scale pilot that uses behavioral economics to market savings through online tax prep software. 

The discussion then turned to policy with Reid Cramer, Director of the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation, describing New America’s Financial Security Credit proposal, which supports low- and moderate-income families by encouraging them to save at tax time.  Lisa Mensah, Executive Director of Aspen IFS, closed out the panel and discussed the power of Aspen IFS’ Freedom Savings Credit policy proposal to expand the current Saver’s Credit to incentivize more savers with a robust match deposited directly into savings accounts. 

Video of the “Building Wealth at Tax Time for Low-Income Families” event can be located at