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California’s First Lady Launches WE Connect

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Maria Shriver, California’s First Lady, filled in for Governor Shwarzenegger as KVML’s Tuesday Morning Newsmaker. Here are her words:

"Hi, this is Maria Shriver with this week’s California Report.

I want you to know about a vital opportunity for our working families that can make a big difference in your life.

It’s called the Earned Income Tax Credit and if you’re eligible, it can mean a tax return of up to $4,800 from the federal government.

This tax credit is our nation’s largest program for the working poor. It lifts more children out of poverty than any other federal program.

This week I launched our 2009 WE Connect campaign by traveling through Northern California and spreading the word about it.

Just think what this tax credit could mean to your hard-working family in these tough economic times. For the nearly 1.7 million Californians who have lost their jobs in the last year, families facing foreclosure, for our families who are struggling financially across our state, the EITC can put money back in your pocket.

Up to 25 percent of eligible California taxpayers are not claiming this credit. That means nearly $1 billion, $1 billion, goes unused in California simply because people don’t know about it.

I met so many families this week who are struggling. Families in cities like Stockton, Oakland and Sacramento who discovered that they can take home refunds of $1,000, $3,000 or more.

So take this information and please pass it on. Tell at least three people and ask them to tell three more.

Everyone can be a connector and be part of the solution by spreading the word in each of your communities.

The declining economy means it’s more important than ever to connect California families to the support that they need.

The WE Connect campaign exists to do just that. It’s a groundbreaking public-private partnership to help working families become more financially secure.

Through WE Connect, you can also access services such as low-cost auto insurance, discounted home telephone service, free tax preparation, you can get help to buy food, save on your monthly energy bill and a tax credit for up to $1,000 per child.

To find out more, go to our web site at

This web site includes an exclusive online tool, developed by our partner Intuit, to help working families determine which of nine programs they may be eligible for and how to apply for them.

It is a one-stop shop connecting you to hundreds of nearby locations that are offering job fairs and other critical resources. We want to keep Californians in their homes and we want to help you put food on the table during these challenging times.

We’re so proud to serve California through WE Connect. So please spread the word, be a connector and we will all together make a difference in this great state of California.

Thank you for listening."

The Newsmaker of the Day can be heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47 on AM-1450 KVML.

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