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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — It’s been 21 years since the first Tahoe Summit. Since then, $2 Billion in federal, state and private funds has been collected and spent on keeping Lake Tahoe blue. “We’ve completed more than 500 improvement and restorations projects,” Senator Diane Feinstein, D-California, said. “One hundred thirty-nine are underway now.” But now…
The economy in the greater Sacramento area is booming, and for good reason.
The most recent census published by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Sacramento county had the highest rate of employment growth between 2012 and 2013 when compared with the 50 largest counties in the United States. The growth rate was found to be 5.5 percent.
For comparison, Travis county, home to the fast-growing city of Austin, Texas, came in at second with a 4.9 percent growth rate in employment. Further, San Francisco county was attributed by the Bureau to have a growth rate of 3.8 percent over the same period.
And thanks to the hard-working spirit of people in the greater Sacramento area, the trend of growth has continued straight through to 2016 and beyond.
Numbers pouring in from this year show that recent job growth has reached 2.27 percent, up by almost a percent when compared to the national average. Looking forward, the expected 10-year future job growth is 38.34 percent, again above the national average forecast.
These numbers are all great, but the question remains. Why has the greater Sacramento area benefited from such high growth? Well, the answer lies in the entrepreneurs and business owners who’ve flocked to the region.
In fact, two local entrepreneurs in particular, Hardeep Gulati, the CEO of PowerSchool, and Sheri Atwood, CEO of SupportPay, show us that businesses large and small can flourish in Sacramento.
In early May, the Trump Administration released a broad tax reform outline that called for the dramatic reduction of corporate tax rates, reform to personal tax brackets, and the elimination of nearly every tax deduction utilized by American households, including the Moving Expense Tax Deduction. As a vital incentive for consumers of our industry, AMSA is working hard to preserve the deduction by meeting with Members of Congress to advocate for the deduction’s retention in any forthcoming tax reform package. We have reports that House lawmakers on the Ways and Means Committee are working to finish their version of a tax overhaul proposal this summer, although there is growing disagreement among members as to whether any tax savings will be used to fund a forthcoming infrastructure package. AMSA’s government affairs team is closely monitoring these developments to ensure we are well-positioned to advocate for our industry priorities in either draft. We have also partnered with the Employment Relocation Council (ERC) to update a detailed study on the deduction’s impact to taxpayers and businesses.
Summer is a particularly difficult time of year for our nation’s food banks. Donations always decline following the holiday season and reach a nadir during the summer months. The timing couldn’t be worse, either. Food banks also face their greatest need during the summertime. The reason? Families with children who had been receiving free or reduced-cost breakfast and/or lunch at school need to find a way to replace those meals during summer break. So they turn to their local food bank or pantry for assistance.
The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program provide nutritional assistance to millions of low-income children every year. On a typical day, more than 21 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program, making it “the nation’s second-largest food and nutrition assistance program behind SNAP.” The School Breakfast Program serves more than 12 million children each day. These programs have been proven to reduce food insecurity, offer a number of health benefits, and improve academic performance.
The Summer Food Service Program was designed to ensure that the assistance low-income children receive at school isn’t interrupted when classes aren’t in session. Only 3.9 million children, 1 in 6, who receive free or reduced-cost meals at school, however, continue to do so during the summer months.
Feeding America’s food banks have programs designed to help close this meal gap, but the majority of food distributed during the summer comes from community food programs. Summer meal sites are sponsored by local organizations and are located typically located at schools, parks, rec centers, houses of worship, etc.
Too many children, however, are unable to access these summer meals sites. Nine million children live in communities that are “ineligible to operate” a site. Another obstacle is transportation to and from the locations. Young children with working parents can’t walk through high-traffic areas or dangerous neighborhoods alone. In rural communities, the distance may simply be too far to travel. The Hunger Free Summer For Kids Act, an amendment to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act with bi-partisan support, would help to remove these barriers by providing children with Electronic Benefit cards and providing off-site consumption options. The bill, however, is part of Child Nutrition Reauthorization, which expired in September of 2015 and remains in limbo.
The infrastructure to help keep kids fed during the summer is there, but the success of these programs depends on us. When they aren’t operating as well as they could be, it places a greater burden on hunger relief organizations that are already stretched to their limits.
What can we do? In the short term, we need to do our part to keep the shelves at our local food banks and pantries stocked. Families who are facing hunger need help right now. Hosting a food drive is always important, but the impact is so much greater during the summer time. Move For Hunger can help you plan and a promote a food drive in your community that will support your neighbors in need.
The long term solution, however, is strengthening our federal nutrition programs. School meals, the Summer Food Service Program, and SNAP safeguard Americans from the dangers of hunger and poverty. We all need to advocate for and support these life-saving programs.
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation and neither can we. Don’t wait, take action today.
Can’t commit to a food drive this summer? A donation of $20 will cover the cost of Move For Hunger’s next food drive.
Find a list of summer meals sites in your area here.