State Asset Policy Forum: Improving Marylanders' Financial Bottom Line

On October 16, JOTF co-hosted a forum with the Baltimore and Maryland CASH Campaigns to explore state asset policy. At the event, Kasey Wiedrich of CFED shared the details of Maryland’s 2009-2010 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard. The scorecard measures the financial security in the state, looking at outcome data around wealth and poverty, business and employment, housing, health care, and education. It also assesses the strength of state policies in each of these areas. The scorecard shows that while Maryland is a wealthy state, there are significant disparities between rich and poor, and our residents carry high levels of credit card and installment debt. While we have some of the strongest policies in the nation around predatory lending and payday lending, we are far behind in other areas, lacking strong IDA, college savings, and microenterprise programs to name a few. Click here to view the scorecard.

Delegate Dana Stein also spoke, sharing updates on the progress of the state Financial Literacy Task Force. Since being established in 2008, the task force has focused on expanding and improving financial education within the public school system. The task force has also looked at ways to integrate financial literacy into the post-secondary system, and make it more accessible for recipients of public benefits.

Robin McKinney, Director of the Maryland CASH Campaign, concluded by discussing legislative action around asset policy. Some progress was made last year, including the passage of a bill allowing taxpayers to split their refunds into multiple bank accounts, and additional legislation will be explored in the coming session – including bills focused on Refund Anticipation Loans and debt settlement. For more information, contact Robin McKinney at 410-528-8006 x817.

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