The Bottom LineThe Bottom Line

Economics in Brief: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Scores Another Win in the Equal Pay Fight

Also, a guaranteed income program in Illinois and potential new child tax credit in California take root.

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team stands for the National Anthem with young soccer players in 2019. (Photo by Lorie Shaull / CC BY 2.0)

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U.S. Women’s Soccer Players Win Again, But This Time for Equal Pay

After settling a pay discrimination lawsuit in February for $24 million, the U.S. Soccer Federation has officially reached an agreement to equalize prize money for all of its national players, Axios reports.

The Federation committed to collective bargaining agreements through 2028 for both the men’s and women’s teams, making U.S. Soccer the first Federation globally to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money.

“The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field,” U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) President Becky Sauerbrunn said via a press release. “The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union’s recent collaboration with our counterparts at the USNSTPA and leadership at U.S. Soccer. We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for National Team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad.”

Male players will also benefit from the addition of childcare for men’s senior national team members during training camps and matches, which the Federation has been providing the women’s team with for 25 years. Players will also be given a 401(k) plan that matches up to 5% of players’ compensation.

Illinois’ Cook County Launches Guaranteed Income Program

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the nation’s largest publicly funded basic income program at $42 million, according to a press release.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the initiative will provide 3,250 recipients with monthly payments of $500 for two years. Participants must live at an income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guideline and cannot participate in any other basic income program. Residents from both the city of Chicago and the suburbs are welcome to apply, though the program will prioritize those living in the suburbs.

Cook County also committed to making the program permanent following the completion of the first round of the pilot.

“Historically, both public and private institutions have been unwilling to directly invest in low-income people without significant restrictions attached. This red tape is in place not because any evidence shows that it is necessary, but rather because our society does not trust that people living in poverty have the character or ability to make good decisions for themselves,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “Cook County is reframing the way we think about government assistance and is proud to be leading the way in the American guaranteed income movement.”

Applications are set to open in the fall. Click here to learn more.

California State Legislature Proposes Child Tax Credit for Low-Income Residents

California legislators are proposing the use of the state’s budget surplus toward a one-time child tax credit of up to $2,000 per child, ABC News reports.

The initiative would apply to families that make $30,000 or less per year.

The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 per child under the age of six at the height of the pandemic, but stalling of the Build Back Better Bill in the U.S. Senate has prevented the tax credit from becoming permanent, according to CBS News.

Now, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is advocating for a state child tax credit as he states that up to 1.7 million children in California are at risk of falling back or further into poverty.

“One in three California households struggle to get by, despite an overwhelming number having at least one working adult,” said United Ways of California President and CEO Pete Manzo in a statement. “These families are hamstrung by low-wage jobs, the high cost of living, and are disproportionately at the mercy of COVID-19. California needs to step up to ensure that children and families on the brink of poverty are prioritized first.”

The bill will be heard by the Assembly appropriations committee on Thursday.

Three Tulsa Massacre Survivors Receive $1 Million Donation

More than 100 years after the Tulsa Massacre, three of the last known survivors of the white supermacist violence received a $1 million donation from a philanthropic organization, the Washington Post reports.

Viola Fletcher, 108, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, and Hughes “Uncle Red” Van Ellis, 102, were all children or infants when white mobs displaced more than 10,000 Black people from “Black Wall Street.”

Fletcher, who was only 7 years old in 1921, demanded Congress bring justice to the survivors and their families. “I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street,” he said. “I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.”

Fletcher, along with other survivors, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against Oklahoma officials after the Tulsa Race Riot Commission’s recommendation to provide reparations was not met.

Ed Mitzen, co-founder of the New York-based nonprofit Business for Good, read about the case in the Washington Post and decided to provide a donation to the victims. “I remember thinking it should not be this hard,” he told The Post. “In some ways, it felt like certain people were trying to run the clock out. We felt like it shouldn’t be this hard to get some sense of relief for what they went through.”

The donation was presented on Wednesday and was split between the three survivors.

This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter.

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Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.

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