A task force of the nation’s mayors is calling for the federal government to create a lifetime learning savings account for every child born in the country – beginning with a $500 deposit – as part of an overall strategy to ease poverty. The task force, chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said the proposal calls for the government to match up to $500 a year in the accounts for 18 years to help pay for higher education or job training. The program could cost $23 billion a year, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ panel, which also called for increased federal investment in preschool and education to boost the middle class and reduce the number of working poor. The mayors said the federal government also should make more money available to underserved neighborhoods by offering tax credits and incentives to draw financial institutions to the areas. “We believe the government must work with its private-sector partners to boost upward mobility and grow the middle class,” the report said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390 MAYORS’ LIST Poverty-fighting proposals by the U.S. Conference of Mayors: Invest $19.4 billion in universal preschool programs. Invest up to $650 per student in K-12 public schools. Invest in work force education programs. Create a Lifetime Learning Savings Account of $500 for every child born in the U.S. and match that amount of investment for 18 years. Offer incentives to create more banking opportunities in the inner city. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and increase minimum wages.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And they recommended changes in federal tax policy to increase deductions for the poor and broaden use of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Villaraigosa and mayors from around the country are scheduled to meet Friday in Florida to review the panel’s proposals and others dealing with poverty. “The United States is the most prosperous, economically competitive nation in the world,” the panel said in its report. “Yet as mayors of America’s largest cities, we are observing sweeping changes in this country that pose serious new challenges to the mobility of workers into the middle class as well as to American prosperity in general.” The problems facing the middle class and cities are growing as the number of working poor rises. Complicating the situation is the growing cost of retirement for the baby boomer generation, increasing globalization of jobs and an increase in single-parent households. But with those problems come opportunities to create a better-skilled work force, officials said.
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