The Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice is a nonprofit organization working to build a more socially just Hawaii, where everyone has genuine opportunities to achieve economic security and fulfill their potential. We change systems that perpetuate inequality and injustice through policy development, coalition building, and advocacy.
School Breakfast Challenge
Hawaii Appleseed has launched a School Breakfast Challenge in an effort to feed hungry school children and improve access to the school breakfast program. Hawaii currently ranks 47th in the nation for participation in the program. Through the Breakfast Challenge, Hawaii Appleseed is offering technical support and up to $10,000 per school in school breakfast equipment and outreach grants. These grants are meant to help capture the tremendous proven benefits of the school breakfast program including better academic performance, fewer behavioral problems, and improved health outcomes. Learn more about the School Breakfast Challenge here.
Hawaii Tax Fairness in 2017
Hawaiʻi has the nation's lowest wages after adjusting for our cost of living, which is the nation's highest. We also place the 2nd highest tax burden in the country on our low-income households. Faced with this one-two-three punch, almost half (48%) of our state’s residents are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Check out the HI Tax Fairness Website to learn about how a few changes to our tax system can help address this problem, and sign up to support these efforts.
State of Poverty 2016 Report Released
In April 2016, the Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice released a report entitled “The State of Poverty in Hawai‘i: How Hawaii’s Residents Are Faring Post-Recovery.” The report brings together the most recent available data to provide a snapshot of how low-income residents have fared after the economic recovery.
Unemployment is low and our residents are working. However, low wages, high housing costs, and disproportionately high taxes on low-income workers have combined to give Hawai‘i the sixth highest rate of poverty in the country. Forty-five percent of families with children do not have enough money to meet their basic needs without public assistance.
By reforming the tax system, adopting policies that promote affordable housing, and increasing the minimum wage, we can transform Hawai‘i into a place where everyone has a genuine opportunity to become self-sufficient. Read the full report here.
New Appleseed Study: Financial Struggles of Hawaii's Working Families
In February 2016, on behalf of Hawaii Appleseed, QMark Research conducted a telephone consumer survey to study the personal financial struggles of Hawaii's working families. The study revealed significant financial instability for many families, with nearly half of Hawaii residents living paycheck to paycheck. Tax credits that let low and moderate income working families keep more of what they earn would provide a measure of relief to many struggling families, a concept which six out of seven respondents (86%) supported. Click here for a more complete summary of the study, and here for the press release.
New Appleseed Report: Creating a State Earned Income Tax Credit
Appleseed’s January 2016 report, “Cutting Taxes to Strengthen the Economy and Boost Hawai‘i’s Families: A Refundable State Earned Income Tax Credit ,” details the many social and economic benefits linked to the Earned Income Tax Credit. The credit not only helps families afford day-to-day necessities, but also primes the local economic pump. The EITC has been associated with improved school performance and future earnings for children; increased working hours and economic resiliency for adults; and increased economic activity for local businesses. Click here to learn more.