On September 8th we held our latest stakeholder convening at the California Endowment. Below you will find the biographies for our speakers as well as our meeting notes and the slide decks used on the day.

Topic: California’s New Earned Income Tax Credit & Emerging Tax Reforms: Boosting Income for Working Families

Meeting notes download herepdf

PRESENTER BIOGRAPHIES

CHRISTOPHER M. BROWN, Director for Financial Security, leads the financial security and political mobilization efforts at PolicyLink. Previously overseeing federal policy and government affairs, he now focuses on local, state, and nationwide strategies for policies that enhance economic mobility, and serves as the Co-Chair of the Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility — a national coalition focused on equitable tax reform. Chris possesses expertise in a range of policy areas and political engagement, and has led policy efforts on state, federal, and international levels since his time on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. Chris focuses on strategic partnership opportunities between the private sector, government, community-based organizations, and policy groups in advancing legislative and regulatory initiatives, and draws on his previous experience in Congress where he served as Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, and as Legislative Director on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Just prior to joining PolicyLink, Chris represented a U.S. contracting firm in Central America, where he directed foreign expansion efforts and government relations. Brown holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia, and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, IL. He now lives in San Francisco, but can also be found roaming the corridors of Washington, DC.

ROSALYN EPSTEIN, MSW is a Financial Services Coordinator at the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp (EBALDC) in Oakland, California. She manages a variety of financial capability programs for youth and young adults including IDAs, financial coaching, financial literacy, and the Money Savvy Youth program which teaches financial education to low income students and students of color in Oakland public schools. She also runs a community tax site 3 for EBALDC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Throughout her career Rosalyn has run programs which empower youth to develop knowledge and decision making skills. She prioritizes culturally responsive programs for youth and continuously works to develop programming which is affirming and inclusive for the diverse youth of Oakland.

LAURA FREEZE joined United Way of the Bay Area’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS) team in August 2013. As a Program Specialist, she spearheads the EKS marketing and social media strategies, while managing the coalition’s partnerships in Marin, Napa, and Solano counties. Laura has certified as a VITA tax preparer for the past three tax seasons and has trained EKS volunteers in tax law and tax software. Laura holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she was also involved with the local VITA program.

CHRIS SMITH is the Franchise Tax Board’s Tax Practitioner Liaison. Chris is in charge of working with Trade Media. Chris started with the FTB in 1994, working as an Auditor, Technical Lead/Reviewer, and as a Subject Matter Expert, mainly in the area of personal income tax. He also spent 3 1/2 years as FTB’s liaison to the Board of Equalization Chair and as a Tax Advisor to a Board Member. Chris’s professional experience also includes working for a small CPA firm, as a Business Property Tax Auditor and as a Revenue Agent with the Internal Revenue Service. Chris has been a Certified Public Accountant for 25 years and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration – Accounting from California State University, Sacramento.