Thursday, May 30, 2024

Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo at Treasury Advisory Committee for Racial Equity

New report on Treasury’s work to create an economy that works for all Americans released with remarks

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you all for joining us here today. I’m grateful for your continued work, time, and dedication to advancing economic and racial equity. I’m also grateful that you made the trip here. It’s important for us to get out of Washington and see firsthand the impact we are making in local communities.  I want to thank former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for serving as Chair of the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity and welcoming us to his native Philadelphia.  I also want to thank the current mayor – Mayor Cherelle Parker – for joining us today and sharing the impressive work underway in her great city.

As you know, when Treasury first established the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity (TACRE), our intent was to more closely examine and understand economic disparities by race and implement Treasury programs in a way that increase economic opportunity for all Americans. Doing so is a key part of President Biden and Vice President Harris’ mandate to promote an economy that lives up to its unrealized potential—not just in the aggregate but for everyone.

Over the past four years, the American economy has had its most equitable economic recovery in history—seen across metrics from unemployment to wages to business ownership. But as everyone in this room knows, we have a lot more work to do to build on this progress.

This group has come together at an extraordinary moment when President Biden’s investments in the American economy through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act are poised to reshape the economic landscape for generations to come.  We all know that past public investments to jumpstart innovation, build wealth, and grow industries have often left communities of color behind.  This time we have an opportunity to grow the economy in a way that recognizes that unlocking the economic potential of those that have long been overlooked, underestimated, and under-resourced is critical to economic growth and prosperity for everyone.

You are helping to ensure that a sweeping set of public investments in the American economy over the next decade are fair, inclusive, equitable, and effective.  Today we released a report on Treasury’s major racial equity achievements under Secretary Yellen’s leadership. This body of work would not have been possible without the thoughtful deliberations of this group. I’ll give you a few examples.

The IRS launched a Direct File pilot with dedicated outreach strategies to reach low-income tax filers.  This tremendous effort demonstrated the value of a free tax filing tool for the American public – as evidenced by the over 100,000 users that took advantage of the pilot this tax filing season.

Treasury has driven record investments to Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, and other capital allocators with successful track records delivering capital to underserved entrepreneurs and neighborhoods.  In fact, recent data from the State Small Business Credit Initiative shows that of the April 2024, 47 venture capital funds have received an SSBCI capital commitment, of which 30 are owned or managed by traditionally underserved fund managers or have an investment strategy that includes a focus on supporting companies with traditionally underserved founders and leaders.

For the first time ever, Treasury included an addendum to the FY2025 Greenbook, showing the effects of three revenue proposals on racial wealth inequality. In addition, we are making progress in expanding access to tax data matched to data from the Census Bureau. This will help provide the Census Bureau and researchers with additional information on individual incomes, deductions, and credits.

Your advice has also been critical to how we use data to help more underserved businesses successfully obtain a contract with Treasury and support our hiring and employee retention efforts. 

As important as those specific recommendations are, the overall advice this Committee has provided to the Department is crucial. Many people often focus on the policy design, but this Committee has importantly focused on the ways in which implementation of policy can promote equity. The data makes it clear that investments that advance racial equity help create economic opportunities for all Americans. The Treasury Department is committed to creating an economy that works for everyone. 

As I said, we know we have a lot more to do. I appreciate that, in good faith, you have all pushed us to do more. I’m eager to hear more from you all today and to have a candid discussion on what we can accomplish this year and into the future.

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2279

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