tv NBC10 Issue NBC March 13, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
job seekers, have you checked your credit report? potential losses, and what's in it could affect if you get an offer or not. plus tax credits worth tens of millions of dollars left on the table. find out if you're eligible for a bigger tax refund. and p al's lead attorney tells us why the tech giant won't back down in the fight with the fbi. >> good morning. i'm roesemary connors. getting a job can be difficult. eve an poorly crafted resume can stop you from getting hired. credit history can also be a
factor. is survey finds that nearly half of all employers run credit checks on your job candidates. 45% of those who check say it's to decrease theft. 22% it's to reduce liability. pennsylvania and new jersey have both introduced bills that limit the practice, but the proposals have gone nowhere for years. delaware is one of 11 states that has some limits on the books. the first state prohibits a public employer from inquiring into or considering the credit history or credit score of an applicant before making an offer. with me now is the president of the philadelphia city council. he's introduced a bill that would stop credit checks on job applicants within the city. thank you for being us. >> thank you. >> what inspired you to do this
bill? >> not only a personal story from a streconstituent, but a nr of my staff indicated this was a challenge. we know that getting a job has significant impediments. the simple reality is it tends to be in the lower paying jobs that people have more difficulty, and the fact that we're requesting credit checks for individuals, particularly in jobs with no relationship to the ability to monitor a person's credit doesn't make any sense to us. so we recently moved on a process that eliminated the first-time in for a person to have to check off a box and say they had some criminal history. the likelihood that that person is going to get a second interview is pretty slim. here we go again, looking at another initiative that will eliminate this particular impediment as it relates to the person's credit. there are, obviously, some positions that a person may want
to have some credit checks as a part of their application process, as it relates to in the finance institutions or maybe law enforcement, but if you're going to get a job in a traditional sense, there's no relationship to finances, i don't know why you should have to check that person's credit. >> what does your bill entail, exactly? are there exemptions? >> there are exemptions. law enforcement, financial institutions. if a job has a direct relationship to some level of economics that there could be some potential for that person to have to be involved in credit or finances, then those are exempt. but the overwhelming number of jobs don't fit that category, so we don't think it's appropriate to one somebody's credit just for a job application. it doesn't make any sense to us. >> we're not talking about broad exemptions here because obviously the concern is that they defeat the purpose of these kinds of laws in the first place. >> i brought it all. there should be a direct correlation between the person's credit and the job they seek in
order to get some credit checks, but most jobs, clearly, don't have to have this impediment put before them. frankly speaking, my job. although i do do the budget, but i'm sure there are a lot of elected officials with a spotted finance. you need to know your job. i don't think it's fair to ask other individuals to be in a position where they get credit checks before they apply for a position. >> recently you wrote an on ed describing this as employment diskrim administrati diskr discriminati discrimination. some people believe people are screened tout. >> i think it's unfair. think it's not clear not only this employment but in auto insurance. when you see these levels of requirements as it relates to jobs and relates to insurance, there's clearly no relationship. it happens to be by and large in
minority communities. low income individuals in various communities, be it minority, nonminority, tend to have more credit challenges because of the nature of their situation. lower paying jobs, not having an opportunity to do certain things with respect to raising their families. they tend not to have extremely high credit scores. i don't think that should be a reason not to give that person an opportunity for a good job. >> did you look to the recent legislation in new york city as sort of a template, or way to kind of incorporate what you want to do here in philadelphia? >> no. we have on our staff, a gentleman lance haber who is the premier consumer advocate, and we hired him probably a year ago, and this is one of the issues that he has asked us to look at. when we started talking to people both in terms of constituents and in staffers, they were told that they, in fact, were asked to have a
credit check prior to the process of their employment. and they didn't understand it. most people just don't order it. they just say it is what it is. and i have to believe that in a lot of instances, people were not allowed to get employment based on the credit checks. >> and you have to wonder if someone -- if your potential employer is asking you if you want this job, we want to run a credit check, what are you going to do? say no? you want that job. >> first thing you want to do is start panicking if you know your credit score is low. i don't think that's fair. i think that a person should be at the top of their game when they go in and not have had burden of being concerned about not having the appropriate credit to work in a job that has no relationship to any finances or law enforcement. i don't think that's fair. >> here's the next step. there's research that suggests that employers in cities and states where this is banned from looking into credit checks, that they're still not following the law. are you concerned about that,
and how will you enforce compliance? >> one of the things that we do when we apply our legislation as it relates to prohibitions or requirements, we always have the penalty phase. we can, in fact, impose a fine for noncompliance of a provision that's inactive in the city council of philadelphia if it's a matter. we plan on amending the city code for this provision, and also adapting a penalty phase as it relates to cnoncompliance. we hope this will have teeth. we saw early on in legislation implemented a couple years, people are starting to come ply. early on people were ignoring the law, but we sent our people out. based on complaints we've gotten from applicants, it is now moving toward a path of being implemented in a way that people are in significant compliance.
we've entertained -- we believe this that this particular provision early on may be ignored, but on a case by case basis, we're going to ask people to contact us if they are, in fact, asked to have a credit check for employment, and then we're going to ensure it's not done anymore in the city of philadelphia. >> this is a newly proposed bill, but if you gotten a sense of the support? >> i think we'll have significant support. the fact that we passed legislation as it relates to exoffenders, we believe in this particular case when a person hasn't done anything other than may not necessarily have good credit, which a lot of us do, i don't think it's fair for that person to have that particular impediment put before them as it relates to employment opportunities. >> i can't let you leave without asking you about the mayor's budget which includes the soda tax to fund pre-k and other
important jobs. you have opposed the soda tax in the past. what's your position now? >> this is the early on process as it relates to the budget proposal. and that particular proposal, it's a relatively high number as compared to the last proposal. at the end of the day, my role should give everybody a fair opportunity which we will do during the budget and hearing process to state their case. at the end of the day, probably around late may we'll have to make a decision. the programs that the mayor laid out as it concerns recreation and pre-k and other activities are things that everybody loves. >> and specifically, things that you want and things that you -- >> community schools. >> does this sort of put you in a tough spot in that part of the soda tax will pay for programs that you want? >> i actually don't think the two are connected with me
because these were programs that the community schools were programs that we proposed two years ago, before there was any thought of a soda tax. the energy program that we proposed for the 10,000 jobs initiative does not require any tax to implement that program. but, obviously, being a district council person, having a number of reck roles in my district, i'd like to have it refurbished. the devil is always in the details. as we go through the process and determine the impact on the people that have to pay the tax, there's some question about the he gallegality of this. there always is. if this does pass and the programs are in a position to be implemented, we want to make sure it's done in a fair and equitable way. >> we should be there for the public hearings to see what your point of view is? >> stay tuned.
>> one last thing. we just learned recently that the school district in philadelphia actually has something of a surplus and that nurses will be brought back into the school and some counselors. was this a surprise to you? >> yes. the last several years we've been forced to raise taxes for schools. it was somewhat troubling to find out there's a significant fund balance in the budget. i think dr. height understood that he needed to do something relatively soon as it relates to some of the short falls in the schools, counselors, nurses, but the reality is, this is a short-term budget surplus. this funding needs to be annualized. the worst thing we can do is hire nurses and counselors and then two years later when the surplus isn't there, lay them off again. we should quickly pivot toward the long-term solution as it relates to funding these
important initiatives. >> daryl clark, thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you so much. my pleasure. on a final note, federal law does allow for credit checks under the fair credit reporting act, but a potential employer cannot check your credit report without your permission. they should ask you to sign a release form first. it costs employers money to run these checks. some wait until they are close to making an offer. others run checks as part of first round screenings. if you're looking for a job, credit.com suggests that you should check your report before an employer does. quickly correct my mistakes and use your right to add an explanation to your report to explain negative information or certain circumstances like a layoff or an illness. coming up, tens of millions of dollars worth of tax breaks left on the table. find out if you're one of the thousands of working people in our area eligible for a bigger tax refund. that's next.
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$100 million, it's a lot of money, and some of it could be yours according to philadelphia department of revenue. the agency says tax credits totaling that amount are being left on the table by many. with me now is the commissioner to tell me how the city is working to track down residents eligible for federal earned income tax credit and to help them apply. commissioner, thank you for being us. >> thank you. >> first, explain what exactly the income tax credit is and who is eligible. >> it's a federal credit that's a refundable credit, and it's designed for low to moderate income families, and the credit ranges from $500 to over 6$,000. and it's not only eligible for the current year. if someone finds that they are
eligible and they would have been eligible previously, they can file three prior years. so that's a total of $24,000 that could be credited. >> and according to your research, there are tens of thousands of philadelphia residents eligible but not applying for it? >> yes. we estimate there's 40,000 philadelphia residents that may be eligible at an average refund of $2400. that's where the 100 million comes from. it's specially $100 million out there waiting to be claimed. eligibility requirements are basically person has to meet certain income guidelines, which vary depending on the size of the family. so single persons are eligible. married, filing jointly, single, head of household, are all eligible categories for federal filing, and they have to be between 25 and 65 years old.
or have qualifying individuals, and they have to have earned income and meet the income guidelines. and in general, what we're telling people is if their income is $53,000 or under, go to our website or all our hot line and find out more and see if they're eligible. because that's the first barrier is getting people to know that this credit exists. >> do you find that people are not applying for it or don't realize that they qualify, or just not filing their taxes altogether? >> i think it's a combination of things. first it's getting the word out. a lot of people don't know the credit exists, and then when they find out, they don't know where to go and how the file the tax return and climb the cred credit -- claim the credit. the department of revenue has done an extensive media campaign. you'll see advertising on buses, newspapers, all kinds of media.
we've also used community based organizations that are in neighborhoods and check cashing agencies, beauty salons, and where the people would be around our free tax prep site. what we've done is first make people aware, and then we want to let them know that we have partnered with two nonprofits, pathways pa, and campaign for working families, and established almost 30 tax preparation -- free tax preparation sites throughout the city, and that's where they need to go and get their taxes done and claim this -- their portion of this $100 million. >> you're with the city of philadelphia, but this is a federal earned income tax credit, so this applies to people who are in new jersey and delaware. >> absolutely. our focus is getting the word out within philadelphia and trying to overcome the barriers for philadelphia residents, but it's a federal credit. >> and i should mention the rest of pennsylvania, including new jersey and delaware.
>> absolutely. >> commissioner with the department of revenue, thank you for being us. >> thank you. >> we should mention the deadline for applying is april 18th. search you earned it dot com. you can also call the hot line at 215-686-92 00. you can find more information on the nbc 10 app. next, why apple says it's too dangerous for the tech giants to give into the fbi's request to hack into its own phones. we'll hear from the man at the center of the legal battle when we come back. ♪ we buy any car dot com ♪ ♪ we buy any car dot com ♪ ♪ we buy any car dot com ♪ ♪ any any any any ♪ did you know trading in your car at a dealer could cost you money? a recent study found consumers who trade in their car
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in a stalemate. the feds obtained court order to force the company to write new software to enable password protection. apple pushed back arguing it would threaten the security and the rights of millions of people worldwide, making it easier for authoritarian rules and criminal hackers. we asked ted olson by apple is taking such a hard line against the federal government. >> it's not an fbi request to unlock a phone. it's an fbi request for the phone system, the iphone, to be redesigned. apple has cooperated completely with the fbi as far as it can go with respect to this phone. apple does not have the power to break into this phone unless it redesigns the encryption system, the operating system in the phone. so fbi is saying, we don't like
the phone the way it's presently designed. we can't get into it. you designed it in such a way that we can't break into it, so we want you to redesign a new operating system so this new iphone and hundreds of millions just like it won't protect the system, won't protect the security of the people who are depending upon it. >> we also asked him how the case impacts people who live in our area even if they don't use apple products. >> in the first place, we're talking about constitutional principles. we have an independent judiciary and a bill of rights that protect individual liberties in this country. when an individual is faced with a government request that goes beyond those constitutional limits, it's important that individuals and companies in this case, apple, resist that and ask a judicial officer to consider the issues. so what apple is trying to do is to protect the civil liberties, the privacy and the integrity of
information that is private of tens of millions of people in this country. but if the fbi can force apple to turn its energies, its engineers and resources to work for the government, then the government can do that to other people as well. so there are very, very important principles here, and it's great that you're having this discussion so the people can hear about them. >> ted olson insists it's an issue of private liberties at stake. >> at some point the government is going to realize that it is on the losing side of this issue, and hopefully it will withdraw. otherwise it could go to the united states supreme court. >> during a recent house judiciary committee hearing, the fbi said it's the first time law enforcement could not get access to something it wanted even with a judge's order and admitted they'll likely ask for other phones to be unlocked. >> want to shake hands with your
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nbc sports. home of the 2016 rio olympics. the nhl. premier league. the nascar chase for the sprint cup playoffs. and primetime's favorite show. sunday night football. madison square garden. an historic place with a traditional marquee. today, the team names on it are the pittsburgh penguins, taking the ice against these men dressed in blue, the new york rangers. after seven weeks away, rick nash has returned from injury to face the pittsburgh penguins. and team scoring and point leader again, their captain, sidney crosby. from the heart of midtown manhattan. the nhl on nbc.