Kansas and Missouri are among the vast majority of states that do a poor job of implementing and promoting family-friendly policies that enhance economic security, according to a study released this week.
By STEVE ROSEN
The Kansas City Star
The annual Economic Security Scorecard, compiled by the nonprofit Wider Opportunities for Women, or WOW, reported that few states distinguished themselves in a wide range of policy areas that promote economic security. Most states earned grades from C- to C+.
Kansas got a C, which placed it 23rd among states. Missouri was ranked 42nd with a C-.
No state received an overall grade of A or B. The highest grade belonged to Washington, which received a B-.
WOW has promoted equal education, employment opportunities and non-traditional occupations for women since 1964. It said its economic scorecard grades state policies “on their potential to improve the economic security of workers, families and retirees.”
One of the goals of the study is to help states direct public investments and set budget priorities that will help workers, families, retirees and the elderly.
The organization examined 85 state programs that dealt with five broad elements of economic security: income, job quality, education and training, savings and assets, and support systems such as property tax relief, medical assistance and child care.
According to the report, Kansas scored best with policies that promote savings and asset preservation. Its worst score was in job quality, which factors in unemployment benefits and medical leave policies.
Missouri did best in the area of economic support systems and, like Kansas, was worst in job quality issues.
The report acknowledged the economic challenges of the past few years along with problems in maintaining federal funding. But the study concluded that “a great many state policies are not meeting their potential to stabilize communities, and some states simply lack policies that could and should be preventing unnecessary hardship and igniting economic growth.”
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