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Group examines relationship between work, poverty, federal safety nets

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A nonprofit is trying to figure out how the state can better help low-income families.

In January, The Badger Institute released Wisconsin's Missing Rung, a report authored by Angela Rachidi, resident scholar in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute. On Tuesday, several groups gathered to discuss the report.

The report examined how the Badger State can better leverage three federal safety net programs - SNAP, TANF and the EITC - to advance employment goals for low-income families. The report found that the most effective way for the state to help disadvantaged residents achieve self-reliance is to pair employment supports, like increased wages, with policies designed to make receipt of benefits contingent upon employment.

"It is up to the employers to up those wages for the best benefit of them, for the best benefit of the individual, the employee, their families and society as a whole," said Aldira Aldape with Americans for Prosperity.

The report concludes that while policies linked to work are critical to lifting people out of poverty, Wisconsin appears to be headed in the opposite direction.

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