During the State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that is built to last – one built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. Yesterday the President released a budget that reflects the President’s firm belief that our country has always done best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. The success of the Latino community is critical to developing an economy that’s built to last and the President’s 2013 budget will support this success in a number of important ways.
To see a fact sheet on the 2013 Budget, An Economy Built to Last and Security for Latino Families, please click HERE. To download the factsheet in Spanish, Una Economía Constuida Para Que Perdure y Seguridad Para Las Familias Latinas, click HERE.
Here are some highlights:
President Obama is committed to giving every American a fair shot at success by improving and reforming K-12 education, which is of particular importance to the Hispanic community given that there are 17.1 million Latinos ages 17 and younger in the United States. And in order to take on the challenge that only 13 percent of Latinos have college degrees, the budget propses measures to make it easier for students to afford a postsecondary education and expand access to college by helping students and their families pay for college.
With Latino workers making up 15 percent of the United States’ labor force, the budget takes steps to equip American workers with good-paying jobs today and in the future by building the skills of American workers, including preparing young people for jobs through a reformed career and technical education program. It also includes support for minority businesses by enhancing access to credit and cutting taxes for small businesses seeking to grow and expand, which uniquely affects Hispanics who open businesses at a rate three times faster than the national average.
To renew the sense of security among middle class Americans including Hispanic Americans, the President is firmly committed to promoting affordable home ownership through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). In 2009, FHA financing was used by 37 percent of all homebuyers but 59 percent of Hispanic families. The budget also calls for permanently extending expanded tax cuts for lower-income families that the President first signed into law in 2009, which provide a larger tax credit to 11.8 million families with 21.3 million children, including a significant number of Latino families.
One out of every four Hispanic households is food insecure, compared with the national average of 15 percent. The budget takes important steps to prevent hunger and improve nutrition by providing full funding to support the 9.1 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) and supporting continued implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
And in an effort to promote citizenship and integration, the budget dedicates $11 million to citizenship education and preparation programs, replication of promising practices of integration for use by communities across the Nation, and expansion of innovative English learning tools.
In this make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it, including Hispanic Americans, and it is important that we preserve the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement. These measures are part of President Obama’s blueprint for building an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.
Alejandra Campoverdi is the White House Deputy Director of Hispanic Media