Democrat Stacey Abrams unveiled a package of economic policy proposals Thursday that includes a “cradle to career” savings plan, a statewide financial literacy program and $150 million in new tax credits aimed at lower-income families.
Abrams, a candidate for governor, also pledged to sign broader anti-discrimination laws and work with lawmakers to require new sexual harassment prevention programs and stiffer penalties for violators. A state commission would have expanded oversight over sexual harassment complaints under her plan.
Abrams said the proposal takes aim at poverty and inequality, which “stand in the way of economic growth for our state through higher social costs, lost earnings, and weakened competitiveness.”
“Poverty comes at too high a cost—to families, to communities, and to our state as a whole,” said Abrams, whose college-educated parents struggled financially to support her family. “We need to harness the hard work and ingenuity of all our workers to advance our state.
Five leading Republicans and one other top Democrat – former state Rep. Stacey Evans – are also in the November race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal.
Here are some of the highlights of Abrams’ plan:
Cradle to Career. Georgia already offers families $4,000 tax deductions for college savings. A new program would create an account for children of “working poor families” at birth and seed an initial investment that must be used for post-secondary education expenses. It did not specify how much the program would cost.
A Georgia Earned Income Tax Credit. The federal refundable tax credit allows many workers with children who earn less than $54,000 if married or $48,300 apply for incentives. Abrams’ plan would allow qualified residents to seek credits totaling at least 5 percent of the federal credit. It would cost $150 million, and she would pay for it by eliminating “tax loopholes.”
Financial literacy. A Georgia FinLit Initiative would work with nonprofit companies and seek private funding to spur “financial health among Georgians.” It would cost $500,000 for support staff.
Sexual harassment. She would support “robust anti-discrimination laws” to target workplace discrimination and work with lawmakers to mandate sexual harassment prevention programs and training. She would rebrand the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity as the Georgia Commission on Human Rights and require it to “set clear pathways for harassment complaints” and oversee mediation and investigations into harassment.
Read more recent AJC coverage of the governors race: