Check out this post from Ed McLenaghan over at The Progressive Pulse, the NC Policy Watch Blog. Ed points out that cutting programs that support families in poverty is counter-productive. He sites this study that shows, among other things, that for a family of four with an income of less than $25K, an income boost of just $3K per year can make a difference in academic achievement and long term productivity for the children. With 25% of our nation's children now living in poverty - the most since the Great Depression, we should look seriously at how the private sector and public sector can work at the local level to develop initiatives that are proven to work to break the cycle of poverty. In Georgia 91 of our 180 counties are in a state of persistent poverty. In 2009, following the near-collapse of our economy, the national poverty rate soared to historic levels - more than 15%. Georgia out-paced those numbers by 20%. We can change this trend and ameliorate the long term damage to our state's economy by embracing research-based best practices.
For example, instead of cutting programs that help families move from poverty to self-sufficiency, we should be adding support, like a state version of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Check this research from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.