A report released today finds one in four Iowa families is “low income.” The report evaluates all states and comes from the “Working Poor Families Project” which is financed by three private foundations. Elaine Ditzler, a researcher for the Iowa Policy Project who has reviewed the report, says any family of four earning less than 37-thousand dollars a year is considered “low income.” Ditzler says one in four Iowa jobs pays poverty-level wages. Ditzler says the cost of living is going up, but wages aren’t. She says the report focuses specificially on working families. About half of minority working families in Iowa are labeled low income in the report. She says Iowans who make less than 14-thousand dollars a year pay about 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Ditzler says in comparison, high income Iowans pay only seven-point-nine percent of their income to state and local taxes. “We always think that, you know, high income people pay a greater share of their income in taxes and it’s apparently just not true,” she says. Ditzler says the report is not all gloom and doom for Iowa, however. Ditzler says Iowa’s working poor are better-educated than their counterparts in other states, and their employers are more apt to provide health insurance. But she says those workers are still not earning enough to make ends meet. Iowa ranked 25th among the states in the percentage of working families that are low income.
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