P.O. BOX 1127, EAST ORANGE, NJ 07019
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The Committee on Economic Development shall implement local efforts and support national programs to preserve and expand economic empowerment among African Americans and other communities of color by: (1) researching and establishing relationships with private and public entities; (2) supporting the work of the National Office in monitoring the progress and activity of private and public entities designated by national programs; (3) implementing local efforts to promote the growth of business ownership; (4) increasing employment and job creation; and (5) encouraging business development and home ownership.
The so-called American dream is out of reach. A great deal of research confirms what we already know — investments in communities of color are paramount to mitigating racism and historic disinvestment. Existing policy is insufficient.
The lack of racial equity in how the American economy functions severely impacts Black people, who are systematically restricted from being fully realized participants. Economic equity is a crucial part of establishing holistic racial equity for Black people. It's not just important that Black people be able to contribute to the economy as workers and consumers, but also as owners with the same access to resources and chance at success as anyone.
White families typically make 10 times that of Black families
Economic equity is crucial to racial equity. An inclusive economy means everyone can contribute and earn with fair access to resources and opportunity.
Accelerating an inclusive economy requires bold policy solutions, and a sustained and comprehensive multi-sector approach — working alongside community leaders, elected officials, and allies to close opportunity gaps.
Cancel student debt
We support debt cancellation for all outstanding federal student loans with forgiven amounts excluded from income for federal tax purposes, and eligibility not based on borrower or household income. Canceling student loan indebtedness provides immediate relief during this extraordinary period of national emergency. Priority should be given to frontline workers — people working in schools, government, healthcare, and nonprofits.
Fully cover unemployment insurance through federal funding
Unemployment insurance is an essential financial lifeline for those who are out of work or dealing with reduced work hours. A federal Unemployment Insurance System must be established. The benefits should be increased well above current levels representing 32.7% of the average wage. All states should have the same length of coverage, a standard maximum of 26 weeks, which can be expanded when warranted. No one should be made more financially vulnerable simply because of where they live.
Implement a federal minimum wage
President Biden can issue an Executive Order raising the minimum wage for all federal contractors to $15.00/hour, indexed for inflation. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour, a figure that has not increased since 2009. Black workers are systematically affected by the federal minimum wage. In part, this is because we're more often employed in jobs that currently pay less than the proposed new minimum wage of $15/hour, and we more often work in places where the state minimum wage isn't higher than the federal minimum wage.
Implement universal paid sick leave
Data reveals more than 30 million workers don't have paid sick leave. Currently, the standard practice is that workers gain access to paid sick days as their wages increase. But this approach excludes workers earning low pay from being able to use this vital security, systematically affecting them more. This approach also harms low-income wage earners whose financial circumstances are worsened when the worker must stay home due to illness or to care for a sick family member. President Biden can call on Congress to pass legislation extending the paid sick leave benefits of President Obama's Executive Order 13706 to all Americans.
Institute a direct minority business contracting requirement for all federal agencies
Black-owned businesses face significant challenges contracting with the federal government. Only about 8% of federal contracting dollars are spent with minority-owned businesses each year. The Biden Administration should institute a direct minority business contracting requirement for all federal agencies of 20%.
Increase funding for community development financial institutions that serve black people
Black-owned and minority-owned banks have long track records of serving communities with the greatest need and that funding should be increased. Funding for the CDFI should be increased and 40% of all CDFI Fund awards should be designated for minority-serving CDFIs. Increasing access to capital for Black entrepreneurs is one of the most proven ways to close the racial wealth gap.
Reverse racist housing policies
We recommended that the Biden administration should create a down payment assistance fund to increase homeownership rates and wealth accumulation for Black households. This support would increase homeownership rates for Black households and should also reduce lender exposure.
A similar Renters Bill of Rights would ensure fair protections from evictions and the administration should aggressively enforce fair credit reporting laws. The Trump administration decimated many provisions and protections for renters from the 1968 Fair Housing Act. NAACP believes a complete audit is warranted to include reversing the July 23, 2020 HUD rule repealing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Support black workers and incentivize diverse and inclusive hiring and promotion practices
Equal work should warrant equal pay. Federally funded projects should include provisions that fully protect workers, ensuring that they are equitably considered, hired, and paid. The federal government's role in setting a just and equitable standard to be emulated by private employers must be restored. Let's establish policies that close the wage gap between Black and white wage earners and give equal attention to addressing the gender pay gap.
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