The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute convened Making Ends Meet: Enhancing Economic Security, Fostering Shared Prosperity to examine a range of policy solutions that can help to ease the struggles New Hampshire’s working families face.
“New Hampshire has one of the higher costs of living in the nation, leaving many working families to face a substantial gap between what they earn and what they must spend on essentials — from housing and groceries to health care and child care,” said NHFPI Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “New Hampshire should pursue a comprehensive strategy that addresses both sides of the equation, boosting stagnant incomes and bringing the cost of basic necessities within closer reach.”
The event opened with a review of basic family budgets for New Hampshire, presented by David Cooper, senior analyst with the Economic Policy Institute.
The first panel discussion examined low wages and workplace policies that make it difficult to care for family needs. Panelists outlined an array of strategies that can boost wages and incomes, from increasing the minimum wage and ensuring access to paid leave to creating an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increasing financial assets. Panelists included Holden Weisman, state and local policy manager, CFED; Ben Zipperer, research economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth; and Jeffrey Hayes, program director, job security and income quality, Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
A second panel of state and national policy experts examined New Hampshire’s high cost of housing, child care, and health care and discussed policy changes that can make these basic necessities more affordable. Panelists included Helen Blank, director, child care and early learning, National Women’s Law Center; Judith Solomon, vice president for health policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Elissa Margolin, director, Housing Action New Hampshire.
The event concluded with a keynote address by Dr. Katherine S. Newman, provost of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a distinguished author, researcher, and lecturer who has dedicated much of her career to the study of poverty, inequality, and economic opportunity in the United States and around the globe. Dr. Newman is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America and Chutes and Ladders: Navigating the Low Wage Labor Market.
Opening Remarks: What Does It Really Take to Make Ends Meet in the Granite State?
David Cooper, Senior Analyst, Economic Policy Institute (revised version)
Session One: Bolstering Incomes, Strengthening Families
Holden Weisman, State and Local Policy Manager, CFED
Ben Zipperer, Research Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth (article version)
Jeffrey Hayes, Program Director, Job Quality and Income Security, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Session Two: Bringing Necessities Within Reach
Helen Blank, Director, Child Care and Early Learning, National Women’s Law Center
Judith Solomon, Vice President for Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Elissa Margolin, Director, Housing Action New Hampshire