Balancing Revenues, Expenditures and Human Needs in the 21st Century

February 14, 2000. FPI Executive Director Frank Mauro takes a look at the revenue side of the 2000-2001 Executive Budget.

Governor George Pataki’s first Executive Budget of the new century avoids some of the most counter productive cuts of his previous budgets. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget, for example, does not propose cuts in Tuition Assistance for the neediest of students, and it avoids what had come to bean annual battle over Medicaid.

BUT this latest Pataki budget fails miserably in seizing the opportunities provided by the boom on Wall Street, the Tobacco Settlement monies, and the “Welfare Windfall” that the state is reaping from the federal government’s conversion of AFDC to a block grant (TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).

So, WHY, when billions of dollars are coming into the State Treasury from these three sources, is the Executive Budget

  • failing to address the state’s many unmet needs, like actually making college more accessible and more affordable for more needy students and investing in the mass transit systems on which so many low and middle-income workers depend, and
  • proposing counter productive cuts in programs from HEOP, EOP, SEEK and College Discovery to early grade intervention (universal pre-K and early grade class size reduction) to various housing and nutrition programs?

The large multi-year tax cuts enacted in recent years are soaking up all new resources.

Under the Governor’s financial plan, billions of dollars of current revenues would be rolled over to future years to “protect” the overly ambitious tax cuts which the state has enacted in the last few years, but which do not take effect until later this year or next year or the year after that. The Governor knows that those tax cuts can not be implemented without deeper service cuts than the public would find acceptable. Rather than addressing this issue head on by proposing the repeal of some of the special-interest corporate tax breaks that are scheduled to take effect over the next several years, the Governor is proposing to delay the state’s day of reckoning for as long as possible by neglecting essential investments, cutting important programs and, most importantly, by rolling over the resulting surpluses to future years in order to “paper over” the gaps that are inherent in those years’ budgets.

All of this is made necessary by the unprecedented series of multi-year, backloaded tax cuts that were enacted in the last six years. Taken together, the tax cuts enacted in Governor Cuomo’s last year in office and in Governor Pataki’s first five years are reducing state revenues by $9.4 billion during the current fiscal year alone. As the Governor proudly points out, the total value of the tax cuts over the last six years has been about $29 billion – growing from about a half billion in 1994-95 to $4.2 billion in 1996-97 to this year’s $9.4 billion. He never mentions the services that were cut and the investments that were not made in order to accommodate that $29 billion revenue loss. Imagine, if the state had cut taxes by half that amount – $14.5 billion – it would have still been the biggest tax cut in history, but could have meant less deferred maintenance of the state’s physical and human infrastructure.

What the Governor also says, which unfortunately is not correct, is that the $29 billion has gone into the pockets of New Yorkers or in to the state’s economy. As much of a third of the tax cuts simply go to the federal treasury (since state personal and corporate income taxes are deductible on taxpayers’ federal tax returns), while large portions go to nonresident individuals and out-of-state and foreign corporations. Thus, the tax cuts actually take more money out of the state’s economy than they pump back in. This helps to explain the stagnancy of those parts of the state that are not being “rescued” by external forces like the boom on Wall Street or the growth of the new Silicon Alley “dot.com” businesses.

These tax cuts are not stimulating the economy, as promised or as claimed.

The Governor defends his strategy for “protecting” the promised future tax cuts by saying these tax cuts are essential to the state’s continued economic revitalization. But the $9.4 billion in tax cuts that have already been implemented have produced no tangible benefit for the state, particularly in light of the growth-supporting investments that could have been made with all or a portion of those resources.

Almost all of the state’s job growth has occurred in the New York City metropolitan area and has been overwhelmingly related to the good times currently being enjoyed by the financial services sector, professional business services, and entertainment and media. The real test of the Pataki tax cuts is that they have done virtually nothing to stimulate growth in the parts of the state that are not benefitting from the strength of these industries. But, like the puppy who repeatedly bangs his head on the coffee table but can’t quite figure it out, Governor Pataki are proposing more tax cuts to solve a problem that $9.4 billion of tax cuts was supposed to solve but did not.

While the boom on Wall Street has allowed New York State to get through the last several years without even deeper service cuts and less investment in the state’s human and physical infrastructure than would have otherwise been require to accommodate the Pataki tax cuts, New York State tax policy has, quite simply, had nothing to do with what is happening in national and international financial markets. If New York State tax policy had anything to do with what is going on in the financial markets, the financial press would be paying a lot more attention to what goes on in Albany and a lot less to the thoughts of Federal Reserve Bank chairman Alan Greenspan.

Wall Street is located in New York State and, as a result, the New York State treasury has been benefitting mightily from the incredible bonuses and capital gains that are being generated by the unprecedented Bull Market of the last several years. The bonuses paid to Wall Street executives and the quadrupling (from $12 billion in 1994 to a projected $55 billion this year) of the amount of capital gains declared on New York State tax revenues, have resulted in two consecutive years of unprecedented increases in personal income tax revenues. But those revenues are going to cover the revenue losses from the previously-enacted multi-year tax cuts that are now taking effect, rather than investing in the state’s human and physical infrastructure in ways that address the huge disparities in socioeconomic well-being that plague our state and .help build a strong and large middle class for the future.

The tax cuts that are now on the books, and scheduled to take effect over the next several years, are even less logically related to boosting the state’s economy than were the tax cuts of the last several years. After all, the Governor’s centerpiece, a classic “supply-side” cut in the state’s personal income tax that is now reducing state revenues by over $5 billion per year, has been fully implemented and it did not come close to generating the number of additional jobs that the Governor and his advisors promised. If those tax cuts had delivered the promised job growth, New York state would now have 100,000 more jobs than it actually has.

$5 billion in additional annual tax cuts are scheduled to take effect over the next 5 years.

The tax cuts that are currently on the books will reduce state revenues by $11.6 billion during the state fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2000, and by more than $14 billion per year when fully implemented. This means that the Executive Budget that Governor Pataki recently submitted (and the budget that the State legislature is charged with adopting over the course of the next several months) had to accommodate $2.2 billion more in tax cuts than did the 1999-2000 budget.

Of the $2.2 billion in additional tax cuts to take effect during 2000, about $700 million is for the implementation of the third step of the STAR school property tax rebate program for owner-occupied dwellings, while almost $500 million is attributable to the full year cost of eliminating the state sales tax on the purchase of clothing items costing less than $110. The remainder of the $2.2 billion involves a virtually endless list of business tax breaks, many of which undercut the corporate tax reforms enacted in 1987. Some do this by weakening safeguards added by that law, like the Alternate Minimum Tax that ensures that profitable corporations can not use loopholes to reduce their tax liability by “too much.” Others simply add new loopholes or preferences for particular industries or even for particular firms.

Wrongly, but not surprisingly, the 2000-2001 Executive Budget, does not propose to repeal or reduce any of the tax cuts that are scheduled to take effect in either 2000 or during any of the subsequent years. In fact, in this year’s Executive Budget, the Governor is asking to enact additional tax cuts, some of which will not take effect until 2005 !!!

At the very least, the Governor and the Legislature should temporarily suspend those tax cuts that are currently on the books but which do not take effect until on or after April 1, 2001. They could leave these tax cuts on the books but eliminate their implementation dates pending a thorough review by a Blue Ribbon commission consisting of representatives of the executive and legislative branches as well as independent experts from outside of government. This review should include an analysis of the overall fiscal and economic implications of the tax cuts implemented over the last six years and of those scheduled to take effect in the future. It should also include a review of the interaction of the increasing number of special economic development credits that have been established in recent years (and those that have been proposed in this year’s Executive Budget) for businesses that are involved in particular types of economic activity and/or that locate in particular parts of the state. Many of these credits are being created for related purposes and with similar but not identical requirements. The result is that some firms, for the same activity, may be eligible for several different credits, all of which may have job creation as their goal, but with no or inconsistent accountability or reporting requirements.

The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes a new round of multi-year tax cuts.

The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes a new round of multi-year tax cuts to be layered on top of the tax cuts that are already scheduled to take effect over the next several years. This new set of proposed tax cuts would also be backloaded – meaning that its cost starts small but grows rapidly over time. According to the State Comptroller’s recent analysis of the Executive Budget, the new proposed tax cuts would
cost only $60 million in 2000-2001,but their cost would grow to $722 million when fully implemented.

Elimination of the Utility Gross Receipts Tax

Of the $722 million, $517 million is the estimated cost of a plan to eliminate the state’s Gross Receipts Tax on the electric and gas utilities and to make those companies subject to the same corporate net income tax that applies to regular business corporations. The $517 million figure is the Governor’s estimate of the difference between the taxes that the utilities would pay to the state treasury if current law were not changed (3.25% of their gross receipts) and the taxes that they would pay if the Governor’s proposal were to be adopted and fully implemented (7.5% of net income.)

Unlike the other tax cuts proposed in the Executive Budget, the elimination of the gross receipts tax on energy companies makes sense from a tax policy perspective. Since the utilities say that they pass this tax fully on to consumers, it represents a consumption tax and is regressive in nature, meaning that it is not related to the consumer’s “ability to pay.” For small marginally profitable businesses, particularly those in industries that involve high energy usage, a 3.25% increase in utility bills could mean the difference between failing or succeeding. The utilities, in their advertisements promoting the Governor’s proposal , indicate that they will pass the full value of the elimination of the gross receipts tax on to consumers. The legislature should ensure that any bills that would enact the Governor’s plan or a similar proposal into law, include language requiring the full “pass-along” of the savings on to consumers, consistent with the utilities’ advertisements.

It should also be noted that while a 3.25% reduction in the cost of energy (assuming that all of the tax savings are passed on to consumers) will be a welcome break for all consumers, it will not automatically produce any of the economic benefits being attributed to it by the Governor who sees it as a tremendous boom to energy-intensive manufacturing firms. In fact, while the Executive Budget proposes a gradual phase-out of the tax for the utilities (and, therefore, for most consumers), it proposes an immediate program under which manufacturers would be provided with a rebate of the full amount of the gross receipts taxes included in their energy bills during the phase-out period. To ensure that there are economic benefits to the state of such a rebate program, it should only be available firms that, at the very least, agree to maintain their current employment levels in the state.

While the elimination of the gross receipts tax on energy companies makes sense from a tax policy perspective, it should be done in lieu of tax cuts of equal value that are currently scheduled to take effect over the next several years (or some of the special corporate tax breaks that were implemented in the last several years) rather than in addition to those tax cuts, thus requiring even deeper service cuts or even greater deferred investments in future years.

Tax Credits Run Amok

Most of the other tax cuts proposed in the Executive Budget involve efforts to use the tax code to encourage firms to create jobs in areas of New York State where job creation is needed and where it would otherwise not occur. While this goal is obviously laudable, it ignores the experiences of this and other states with such efforts to use the tax code for “social engineering.” The key lesson of these efforts is that these provisions will induce very little, if any, activity that would not have occurred otherwise, and simply provide other taxpayers’ money to those who happen to meet the criteria involved.

None of these provisions should not be enacted into law, particularly at this time when the state has not ha any time to evaluate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the many similar provisions that have been enacted into law in the last several years. If serious consideration is given to any of these (or similar provisions), however, it is essential that certain basic “common sense” safeguards be included.

  • Tax credits created in the name of job creation should include accountability mechanisms to ensure that the promised job creation actually materializes. Only one of the Governor’s proposals (a tax credit related to an expansion of the Power for Jobs program),however, includes any kind of even quasi-public reporting on the recipients’ employment levels relative to what those levels had been prior to the receipt of the taxpayers’
  • Tax credits designed to help areas with poorly performing economies should have logical criteria and should not write into permanent law criteria that make permanent some notion of what those underperforming areas may be at a particular point in time. Many of the Governor’s proposals make just this mistake and do it in a particularly ham-handed way, making certain credits available everywhere outside the 12-county MTA region and nowhere within it. This would make tax breaks available for job creation in some areas with vibrant economies while excluding areas, such as the Bronx and Brooklyn, with extremely high unemployment rates and large concentrations of people living in poverty.
  • Tax credits or other government largesse should not be used to encourage or to reward the creation of jobs at or below the poverty level. Doing this only drives more money out of the federal, state and county treasuries in the form of the income supports that our society appropriately provides to the working poor. Only one of the Governor’s proposed tax breaks has any job quality requirement, and that requirement is extremely inadequate – providing double-value tax breaks if an employer’s average wages paid exceed $8 per hour.
  • Subsidies should not go to firms that violate environmental, worker safety, or other laws.
  • In the new information-based economy, investing in K-12 education; ESL, GED, and adult literacy programs; and, training for incumbent workers has greater pay-off than subsidies for low-wage jobs. Education must be protected from corporate welfare.
  • Subsidies don’t create markets. Retail and service businesses that serve local markets should not be subsidized except in extreme cases.
  • Piracy is indefensible in all cases. Even those who feel that New York has to compete with other states, should oppose subsidies for intrastate and intra-region relocations.

An Agenda for a Better New York: Improving New York State’s Utilization of its TANF Block Grant and Related “Maintenance of Effort” Resources

February 9, 2000. A report by Frank Mauro and Carolyn Boldiston. The current TANF surpluses provide New York State with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fight poverty and lift poor families towards independence and self-support. This includes liberalizing the earned income disregard, providing a long overdue grant increase, and making new efforts to reach hard-to-serve parents and children. New York is more likely to continue to meet work participation rates if it invests in activities that have proven successful in helping people to move from welfare to work.

The report is supplemented by a glossary, given below. The PDF version of the glossary includes a February 2001 addendum.

This report contains descriptions and other information about all of the programs that have been funded in whole or part by New York State’s federal TANF block grant or by state and/or local expenditures used to meet New York’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements. It also includes programs that have not received such funding in the past but which are proposed for funding by Governor Pataki in this year’s Executive Budget.
 

Advantage Schools. An after-school program initiated by Governor Pataki in the 1998-1999 state fiscal year offered to students in schools or other locations from the end of the school day to early evening. Funding is provided to localities and non-profit agencies who work with the schools, child-care providers and community-based organizations. For the first time, the 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to use $10 million from the TANF block grant for this program. Administered by the Office of Children and Family Services.

 

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million

Automotive Skills Training. Demonstration program which provides job training for Family Assistance recipients to prepare them for unsubsidized employment in the automotive field. Local social services districts work in partnership with for-profit, nonprofit, government and labor organizations to provide services including post placement support. Demonstration programs that tap the resources of the automotive industry to provide work opportunities with skills training and career potential are awarded competitive funding through the Consolidated Application for State-administered Programs, or CASP, process. A maximum award of $200,000 is available to local districts and provider agencies. As of May 1999, nine programs had been awarded funding, including two in Erie County. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1 million

Bridge. This program was established in 1993 to provide work experience, which may include subsidized employment, with education and training activities including employer-specific efforts such as on-the-job training. It also provides job services such as job readiness and development and post-employment for-profit case management. Educational activities include GED preparation, skills assessment, vocational training and certification, and, preparation for community college education and higher education. Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) in regional urban centers, community colleges, the State University College at Potsdam and the Urban League of Northeastern New York, Inc. provide these services to Family Assistance recipients within a shorter than usual time scale to accommodate work participation requirements in the TANF program. By May 1999 there were 11 upstate projects which served 15 local districts, and five projects operating in New York City. The Department of Labor sends each district’s allocation from federal TANF funds to SUNY via a memorandum of understanding. SUNY contributes in-kind services to enhance the program. Bridge funding is distributed through the Consolidated Application for State Administered Programs, or CASP. New York State has allocated surplus TANF funds to expand this program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $22 million $22 million $22 million
MOE $12 million $13 million $14 million

Funds are allocated jointly for the BRIDGE and EDGE programs. The amounts in this table represent this joint allocation.

Bridge Child Care Training and Placement Program. Community colleges or Educational Opportunity Centers that are active in the Bridge program provide training for participants to become day-care providers or child-care workers. Twenty-eight local districts have been active in this program. In 1999, DOL asked districts to continue the program through the base Bridge or Bridge College to Work programs. Administered by the Department of Labor, State Education Department and the State University of New York.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1 million

Bridge College to Work. This program is an extension of the Bridge program and operates in 22 community colleges (which serve 32 social services districts). It provides work-based training for students in these locations. Nine sites were to be added to this program by the end of 1999. Administered by the Department of Labor, State Education Department and the State University of New York.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million

Built on Pride. This is a pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare Family Assistance recipients for apprenticeships in construction and rehabilitation of subsidized low-income housing. By May 1999, there was one $200,000 performance-based contract operated by the Urban League of Northeastern of New York, Inc. and another one under development for Erie County. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.4 million $5 million

Case Management/Alternative to Incarceration Pilot. Innovative specialized case management for Family Assistance recipients including $1 million through a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Probation to provide alternative to incarceration services for non-custodial fathers. Districts receive funding based on proposals. Funds may be used for various purposes including contract services, software development, staffing and training. As of November 1998, 15 districts were approved to participate in this program: Albany, Chautauqua, Delaware, Dutchess, Franklin, Fulton, Jefferson, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Rockland, Saratoga, Westchester and Wyoming. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2 million $19 million

Case Management for Homeless Families This program provides case management for TANF-eligible individuals leaving the shelter system in New York City and Westchester County.  It consists of services to help such individuals maintain independence including legal advocacy, employment support and day care. As of January 2000, contractors who were recently awarded a total of $5 million to provide services through the Homelessness Intervention Program were asked to serve TANF families in this new program. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1.5 million

Child Assistance Program-Administration (CAP). This program, first established in 1987, is a voluntary alternative to the Family Assistance program designed to provide cash benefits and supportive services to help families achieve self-sufficiency. Local districts have the option to establish this program for children who live with one or both parents. Eligibility for the CAP program differs from family assistance in that it has a more liberal assets limit and allows parents to keep more of their earned income before becoming ineligible for welfare benefits. This program emphasizes hands-on case management. Currently, there are 20 counties operating CAP programs in New York. There is a fixed amount allocated to this program for which counties must apply. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3.7 million $4.5 million $4.5 million
MOE $3.7 million $4.5 million $4.5 million

Child Assistance Program Expansion. Funds to expand the CAP program. Herkimer, Oswego Rensselaer, Schenectady and Tompkins social services districts have participated in the expansion of this program. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1.5 million $1 million $1 million *

* Included in the Implementation Block Grant.

Child Care Assistance. TANF funding for child care subsidies for additional low-income families and to increase child care payments to make adjustments for inflation since 1995-96. Subsidies are provided to: 1) families who participate in public assistance programs that are funded either by federal or state funds or both (Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance, and the Child Assistance and Emergency Assistance to Families programs) with children under 13 years old where the parent[s] work; 2) families making the transition from public assistance to self-sufficiency (child care subsidies are available for up to one year for this group); 3) teen parents finishing school; and 4) other families approved by the social services districts. TANF funds are also used for “quality activities” such as accreditation support for providers, training, activities that promote health and safety including increased monitoring and inspecting, and, services provided by child care resource and referral agencies. Federal TANF funds are transferred to the New York State Child Care Block Grant and flow to the local districts for distribution to recipients as child care subsidies.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $66.6 million $76.6 million $230 million $230 million

Child Care Enforcement/Oversight. Proposal in the 2000-2001 Executive Budget to expand the Office of Children and Family Services enforcement function to provide staff to finger-print and conduct background checks on Family Assistance recipients. Legislation to be introduced in 2000 would make finger-printing and background checks mandatory. Funds will be used also to increase staff that will do inspections and oversight activities.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $18.5 million

Child Care for Migrant Workers. Proposal in the 2000-2001 Executive Budget to use TANF funds to expand the number of migrant children that have access to child care. Program would be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2.5 million

Child Care Reserve Fund. Additional funding available over three years to local governments for providing child care to: 1) Family Assistance recipients; 2) former Family Assistance or AFDC recipients that are becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on welfare services; and, 3) low-income families that need subsidies to help stay employed. This reserve is designed to provide a stable funding source when counties need to respond to increased child care demands in the near future. Administered by the Office of Children and Family Services.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $200 million

Child Support Disregard. Under TANF, Family Assistance recipients with child support assign, or turn over, such support to the state to offset their cash assistance grants. The TANF program gives states the option of passing on to the recipient all or part of such monthly support payments. New York originally opted to pass on $50 per month but this “child support disregard”will increase to $100 in state fiscal year 2000-2001.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
MOE $26 million $26 million $22 million

Child Support Disregard Increase This refers to the increase in the child support disregard from $50 per month to $100 per month in state fiscal year 2000-2001. The Child Support Disregard is an item which New York historically paid for as part of its total maintenance-of-effort (MOE) under TANF.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
MOE $17 million*

*In the documents supporting the 2000-2001 Executive Budget the $17 million Child Support Disregard Toward MOE is included as a proposed TANF “surplus” spending item. Estimates for SFY 1999-2000 MOE spending included a $20,000 allocation for this item.

Child Welfare Emergency Assistance to Families. Provides funds to protect children and young adults from abuse and neglect, for example, through such programs as foster care and preventive services. This money is budgeted in the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance but the Office of Children and Family Services allocates it to local social services districts.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $100 million $160 million $220 million*
MOE $240 million $240 million $120 million*

* Since $120 million in MOE funding is required to pay for Family Assistance to children in foster care, the state is reducing its MOE support for Child Welfare Emergency Assistance to Families by this amount and increasing the TANF funding directed to this program by $60 million.

Compliance with Federal Reporting Requirements. Provides funds to facilitate compliance with federal data reporting, case tracking and financial management requirements. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1 million $1 million

CUNY Work Experience. Funding to ensure that Family Assistance recipients attending City University of New York (CUNY) fulfill TANF work requirements. CUNY students are assigned work experience at four college locations and 13 nearby campuses. This program was established in 1998 and by May 1999, federal TANF money supported the participation of 240 students. The Human Resources Administration in New York City selects contractors that provide on-site monitoring. Funding is provided through a SUNY-Department of Labor memorandum of understanding.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.75 million $1 million

Displaced Homemakers Centers. Funds to 25 existing Displaced Homemaker Centers for expanded or new services to Family Assistance recipients. In the 1999-2000 adopted budget, $.6 million was split evenly among these sites for an approximate increase of $24,000 per center. Besides counseling and referral services, the centers provide basic and vocational skills training, job preparation, referral and placement. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.6 million $.6 million $.6 million

DOL TANF Staff.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2.7 million $2.7 million

Domestic Violence Screening. Funds for local social services districts to hire a Domestic Violence Liaison responsible for screening applicants /recipients for domestic violence and referring them to voluntary support services. This program also allows recipients to be exempt from work participation and child support assignment if participation would place the individual at risk. Allocations were established by the state for each district. As of July 1998, plans submitted by all 58 districts for a liaison were approved. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $5 million $5 million $8 million *

*Included in the Implementation Block Grant.

Drug Abuse Screening/Treatment. This program provides mandatory drug abuse screening and support services such as family counseling and parenting skills but does not include medical treatment. Allocations were established by the state for each district. As of July 1998, plans submitted by 50 districts to access this funding, including New York City, were approved. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $18 million $12 million $18 million *

*Included in the Implementation Block Grant.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Cost Containment. TANF money to pay for the refundable portion of New York’s earned income tax credit, that is, for refunds in excess of a family’s tax liability. The EITC is a refundable tax credit available to families with low or moderate earnings. The size of the federal EITC increases as earnings rise up to a maximum and then is phased out as earnings grow. The amount of the New York State EITC for any family is a percentage of the federal EITC. For calendar year 1999, the state EITC consists of 20 percent of the family’s federal EITC. This percentage increases to 22.5 percent in 2000 and 25 percent in 2001. The 1999 final TANF regulations allow states to use TANF block grant money to finance the refundable portion of a state EITC for financially eligible families. Administered by the Department of Taxation and Finance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $49 million $174 million

Educational Development for Gainful Employment (EDGE)/Bridge. School districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), community colleges, community-based organizations and employment and training agencies provide work-based training to Family Assistance recipients. Such training consists of vocational education, community service, work experience, job readiness and placement, and post-employment services. Participants complete both classroom and work activities including job search efforts and internships; classroom activities that provide basic and job skills training may be offered only as part of such work activities. Federal TANF funds pay for approximately two-thirds of the program while the state pays the remaining portion. Funding for certain portions of the EDGE program comes from the state Welfare Education Program and the State Employment Preparation Education funds. The Department of Labor sends each district’s allocation from federal TANF dollars to the State Education Department via a memorandum of understanding. Local districts may use state money to fund providers which have agreements with the State Education Department. As of October 1, 1998, EDGE funding is distributed through the Consolidated Application for State Administered Programs.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $22 million $22 million $22 million
MOE $12 million $13 million $14 million

Funds are allocated jointly for the BRIDGE and EDGE programs. The amounts in this table represent this joint allocation.

EDGE Plus. This program extends specialized EDGE services to Family Assistance clients with specific circumstances or barriers. Services are provided by local districts working with local education agencies and community-based organizations. Local districts must submit applications for funding. The “EDGE Plus” program consists of three initiatives: Literacy and Work Preparedness, English as a Second Language, and Local Interagency/VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) Employment Services (LIVES).

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $6 million*

* This allocation was added to istricts’ base allocations for that year.

EDGE Plus – English as a Second Language. Instruction for TANF participants who lack English language skills. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $5 million $3 million

EDGE Plus – Literacy and Work Preparedness. Most of this funding ($7.5 million) will be allocated statewide to expand work activities already provided through EDGE programs. As of May 1999, 44 districts had submitted applications for this money. The remaining ($.5 million) is directed to initiatives that support pregnant and teen parents; 21 of these programs began on March 1, 1999. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million

EDGE Plus – Local Interagency/VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) Employment Services (LIVES). Provides job training and placement through VESID services to help Family Assistance recipients with disabilities become employable. Administered by the Department of Labor.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2.5 million $6 million

Electronic Benefits Issuance/ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) System. This new system will allow recipients to access their food stamp and cash benefits electronically through authorized retailers. Recipients will be able to make purchases, receive cash back, obtain full cash benefits and withdraw cash from automated teller machines. EBT, run by Citibank and EBT services, operated in New York City in 1999 and will be running across the state in 2000. EBT will replace a number of older electronic issuance systems, including CBIC, Electronic Benefit Issuance and Control System (EBICS) and the Electronic Payment File Transfer System (EPFT). It also includes the Automated Finger Imaging System (AFIS) used to identify potential public assistance recipients prior to providing them with benefits as part of an effort to cut down on fraud in duplication of welfare benefits and to stop fugitive felons from receiving welfare benefits. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million $10 million $10 million
MOE $10 million $10 million $10 million

Emergency Assistance to Needy Families (EAF). Program established in 1965 to provide aid, care and services on an emergency basis to families with children. If a family’s need becomes ongoing, local districts are encouraged to move the family into the Family Assistance program. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $80 million $40 million $40 million
MOE $80 million $80 million $40 million

Empire State Development Job Specific Training. This program trains workers in skills requested by employers that interact with the staff of the Department of Economic Development. The Department of Labor has a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Economic Development to provide these services. This program is known also as the Training Opportunities and Placement Program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2 million $2 million $4 million

Employment Agency Initiative. This Department of Labor program was established to use the expertise of for-profit and nonprofit job placement agencies by creating a pool of such organizations that would provide employment services to Family Assistance recipients. Family Assistance clients get referred to these agencies from local social services districts. Agencies can ‘voucher’ the Department of Labor for payment up to $1500 once the TANF recipient is in the job for 90 days. By May 1999, the Department of Labor had contracts with 53 organizations which met DOL’s request-for-qualifications. These contracts operate in 31 local districts and New York City.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million $2 million $3 million

Executive Budget MOE Refinance and Refinancing Reestimate. This represents state and local government spending on welfare benefits that exceeded the state’s required maintenance-of-effort ($204 million in state fiscal year 1997-1998 and $18 million in state fiscal year 1998-1999). The state refinanced or recouped these amounts with surplus TANF funds which reduced the state and local governments’ match rates for spending on welfare benefits in 1997-1998 from 25 percent each to approximately 21 percent each.

SFY 1996-1997 SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000
TANF $44 million $204 million $18 million

Family Assistance Program. This program replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) at the end of 1997 as the primary vehicle for providing financial assistance to families with needy children. It removed certain criteria for participation – such as a child having a deceased or unemployed parent – and increased the resource limits allowed to qualifying or participating families. This program provides support services, cash assistance, and assessments of participants for employment, for a maximum of 60 months. It is a basic matching formula program (with 50 percent of the funding provided by the federal government, 25 percent provided by the state and 25 percent provided by the local social services districts, or counties) that is open-ended and based on historical expenditures (not the current number of cases) in the social services districts. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $966 million $715 million $474 million*
MOE $966 million $900 million $1,164 million*

* Certain expenditures for children in foster care are no longer classified as family assistance in state fiscal year 2000-2001 but are now classified as Child Welfare Emergency Assistance. This $120 million decrease in the TANF allocation for Family Assistance is balanced by a $60 million increase in the allocation of TANF funding for Child Welfare Emergency Assistance to Families, a $120 million decrease in MOE funding for Child Welfare Emergency Assistance and a $120 million increase in the MOE for Family Assistance. In addition, the 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to replace $225 million in TANF funding for Family Assistance with MOE funding in order to ensure that the state meets its MOE requirement.

Family Loan Program. This Department of Labor program provides small no-interest loans to help eligible families meet unexpected expenses that could affect their remaining employed or in training. It has primarily supported car purchases. Private nonprofit or public agencies are awarded funding for this purpose through a competitive request-for-proposals (RFP). Two organizations in Buffalo and Rochester have received money for pilots modeled after programs operating in Minnesota. This program was originally established with state dollars but in 1999-2000 the state budget allocated $.5 million in federal TANF dollars for the program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.5 million

Food Assistance Program for Children (FAP). Non-USDA funded food stamp benefits to legal resident children who lost access to federal food stamps because of their non-citizen status regardless of their eligibility for family assistance. On November 1, 1998, federal food stamps were restored to these children, therefore, the allocation in state fiscal year 1998-1999 covers the period from April 1 through October 31, 1998. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million

Food Pantries/Nutrition Assistance. Funding to expand existing state services for emergency food assistance provided through Department of Health contracts with emergency food providers – food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, etc. The Department of Health has a memorandum of understanding with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to administer these funds and has issued a request-for-applications to distribute $11.5 million to existing and new contractors. The Department of Health will keep $500,000 for administration of the program. Most of the money is expected to go to food banks since they supply food to a range of organizations. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the Department of Health.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $12 million $12 million

Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) Reserve. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to use TANF money to supplement funding used to provide health care worker training since there is the possibility that sufficient money for health care worker training may not be available through HCRA.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $50 million

High Performance Bonus Spending. This item supports a range of services that promote self-sufficiency and help overcome employment obstacles using funds received by New York from the federal government as a bonus for ranking second nationally in 1999 for increases in welfare recipients’ job retention and earnings.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million

Home Visiting. A program in which staff from the Office of Children and Family Services go into the homes of at-risk children to provide a range of assistance to parents such as home management, parenting skills, and help to obtain medical care for children. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes, for the first time, to use TANF funds to directly support this program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $5.6 million

Home Visiting Expansion. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to use TANF funds to expand home visiting services by an additional three or four sites.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2.4 million

Hospital Wage Subsidy. A Department of Labor wage subsidy and training demonstration program that provides assistance to hospitals to hire and retain public assistance recipients as employees.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2 million $2 million

Implementation Block Grant. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to replace program-specific funding for six programs (Merit Scholars, Domestic Violence Screening, Medical Examinations, Child Assistance Program Expansion, Case Management/Alternative to Incarceration Pilot and Drug Abuse Screening/Treatment) with this block grant. The 2000-2001 allocation is approximately $70 million more than the combined 1999-2000 allocations for these programs. The block grant is proposed in order to streamline the application process and encourage local districts to strategically plan how to provide and integrate these and related services. Grant levels would be based on the district’s Family Assistance caseloads with a minimum funding guarantee to accommodate districts that have a low number of cases. Local districts would submit comprehensive plans on how they will use funds. The program would be administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $125 million

InVEST. This program began in New York City for employed Family Assistance recipients that were working at least 20 hours a week but were not earning enough to leave public assistance. City University of New York (CUNY) provides them with tuition-free training to improve their opportunities for work and higher wages. CUNY is paid if these students achieve certain outcomes including exit from welfare. Human Resources Administration approved this program to run at 13 CUNY locations as a collaboration between Department of Labor, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), Human Resources Administration and CUNY. In 1999-2000, the state budget expanded this program to serve not just employed but also unemployed Family Assistance recipients. The program provides vouchers to employers, educational institutions and other organizations who act as trainers. As of January 2000, only TANF dollars funded this program but the Department of Labor hoped to add other funding in the future to be able to extend the InVEST services to other populations.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million $25 million $25 million

Job Placement and Retention Initiative (JP&R). First established in 1987 as the Comprehensive Employment Opportunity Support Center (CEOSC), this Department of Labor program provides TANF program participants with short-term job preparation and placement, and job retention services such as counseling, support and communication with employers. Fixed project funds are awarded to local governments, school districts and private nonprofit or for-profit groups through a request-for-proposals process. By May 1999, fifteen organizations in New York City and seven in upstate New York (which serve eight local districts) had been awarded performance-based contracts. They work in partnership with their local social services districts and earn reimbursement fees when recipients have retained jobs for 30, 90 and 180 days. Fifty percent of the program is funded with TANF funds, which are matched by a 25 percent share each of state and local funds.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3.7 million $3.7 million $3.7 million
MOE $3.7 million $3.7 million $3.7 million

Jobs Staff. Department of Labor staff that work in 51 local social services district offices providing job placement and other services to support local districts’ employment efforts. This activity involves 110 full time employees and is funded through a special appropriation in the annual budget. This program is not the JOBS, or the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills, program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $7.2 million $9.5 million $9.5 million

Learnfare. This program links welfare benefits and school attendance by reducing benefits for families if a child has five or more unexcused absences during a school quarter. If three unexcused absences occur during this time, the student receives counseling. If there are two more unexcused absences, the family’s benefits are reduced for three months by $60 each month. Simultaneously, the family receives increased food stamps to counteract the decrease in their monthly grant amount. The full amount of the reduction is returned to them if the student has no unexcused absences in the following academic quarter. By 1999, Learnfare operated in nine counties and New York City – which receives 65 percent of the funding – for students in grades one through six. Local districts must submit plans or be selected to participate and funding is allocated by welfare caseload. Although the program is scheduled to sunset by July 2000, the program has been extended; it received a $4 million allocation in 1999-2000 and the 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to continue the program at current funding levels. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1 million $1 million $4 million $4 million

Local Administration Base. This represents financial support to local social service districts to administer the Family Assistance program. The federal government pays 50 percent of these costs and the state and local governments pay 25 percent each. The state and local governments receive the federal aid through a noncompetitive application process. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $227 million $119 million $120 million
MOE $227 million $236 million $120 million

Local Employment Program Administration (LEPA). Department of Labor reimbursement of social services districts for administering welfare-to-work programs to Family Assistance recipients. Each district operates an employment unit which administers local contracts to service providers and conducts interviews and assessments of public assistance recipients, etc. Districts submit plans to the Department of Labor for carrying out this function and these costs are paid out of an annual budget appropriation.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $55 million $57 million $58 million
MOE $55 million $55 million $58 million

Local Juvenile Delinquency/Persons in Need of Supervision (JD/PINS) The Office of Children and Family Services reimburses local governments for foster care services provided to juvenile delinquents and persons in need of supervision. These services include care, maintenance, supervision, and tuition. As of state fiscal year 1998-1999, this program became part of the services provided through the Family and Children’s Services Block Grant. Half of the TANF funding in this program, $30 million, represents state fiscal relief, that is, it replaces spending that the state would have undertaken, and half represents either new aid to or relief for expenditures made by local districts, depending on the level of spending by individual districts.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $60 million $80 million

Medical Examinations. This program funds the screening of Family Assistance recipients for disabilities and work limitations. While TANF funds have been allocated in each of the last three state fiscal years for this purpose, they have not been spent. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million $3 million $3 million *

* Included in the Implementation Block Grant.

Merit Scholars. Incentives for students who are public assistance recipients to excel academically. Awards can be used for books, calculators, computers, educational camp tuition, and may also be used to encourage community service. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.5 million $1 million *

* Included in the Implementation Block Grant.

MOE Relief – State Fiscal Year 1996-97. This represents the state use of surplus TANF funds in state fiscal year 1997-1998 to recoup state and local government spending on welfare benefits that exceeded the state’s maintenance-of-effort requirement in state fiscal year 1996-97.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $44 million

New York City Foster Care Tuition. Reimburses New York City for foster care expenses provided to youth in certain foster care settings. Fifty percent of the money replaces state spending and the remaining half reimburses New York City. Administered by the Office of Children and Family Services.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $43 million $36 million

New York Works Block Grants. Department of Labor program for local districts to expand work activities for Family Assistance recipients in order to meet the work participation requirements of the TANF program. In general, this funding supports additional job placement and retention staff, transportation assistance and increased work program capacity. More specific examples of services provided to recipients are car loans and expanded office hours. In 1997-1998 and 1998-1999, this block grant’s noncompetitive allocation to localities was based on districts’ local share of the statewide TANF employment program administrative expenditures during the previously completed calendar year (local districts’ fiscal year). In 1999-2000, allocations were based strictly on TANF caseload size in the local districts. In this fiscal year, $100 million was allocated to local social services districts; of the remaining $10 million, $2.7 million was for administration, $1.4 million was to augment the Bridge College to Work program and the balance is unprogrammed. For 2000-2001, this block grant includes $7 million for Teen Works and $1 million for the Youth Enterprise Program. Local districts must submit a plan for using New York Works Block Grant funds to the Department of Labor with the Consolidated Application for State-administered Programs, or CASP. These funds can be used only to expand employment-related activities and not to reduce the local share of such expenditures. Services may be provided not only by the district but also by EDGE, Bridge or DOL staff.

SFY 1996-97 SFY 1997-98 SFY 1998-99 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million 

(backfilled)

$29 million $13 million $110 million $143 million

Office of Children and Family Services Juvenile Delinquents. Funds are used to offset the state cost of care in Office of Children and Family Services facilities (there are 48 institutions providing secure, limited secure, etc. conditions) for juvenile delinquents that are TANF eligible but not Family and Children Services Block Grant eligible. The funding amount ($9 million according to Office of Children and Family Services) is based on the number of identified eligible youth.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million $15 million

Predetermination Grant – AFDC Shift. This classification was used under AFDC for individuals potentially eligible for welfare assistance, for example, pregnant women without children). It has been used also under welfare reform as an interim step before individuals were classified as Family Assistance or Safety Net Assistance recipients. During 1999, this categorization was dropped. This program was funded on a 50-50 basis between the state and local social services districts. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
MOE $19 million

Pregnancy Prevention. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to use TANF funds to provide funding relief for pregnancy prevention services.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $7.7 million

Preventive Services Initiative. Funding for supportive services to children and their families to avoid disruption of a family unit such as the placement of a child in foster care or to enable a child to return to his or her family earlier than expected. As of January 2000, the Office of Children and Family Services was finalizing a request-for-proposals that would ask not-for-profits, as required by legislation, to submit proposals to provide such services.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million

Preventive Services. A proposal in the 2000-2001 Executive Budget to provide TANF funds to replace Title XX money to fund services to families who are at risk of foster care and whose incomes are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Would be administered by the Office of Children and Family Services.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $30 million

Pride 2000.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1 million $2 million
MOE $2 million

Rape and Pregnancy Prevention. A program, administered jointly by the Department of Health and the Division of Criminal Justice Services, which funds rape and pregnancy prevention services. Funding received by Division of Criminal Justice Services had not been used as of January 2000.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million $7 million $10 million $10 million

Refugee Resettlement. Financial assistance and social services to needy refugees. This program draws a portion of its funds from the federal TANF grant (37.5 percent, or, $1.5 million) and the remainder from general purpose state dollars (62.5 percent, or, $2.5 million). Voluntary resettlement agencies which were under contract with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance as of state fiscal year 1998-1999 were eligible to receive this funding. Most of the money for 1999-2000 (87.5 percent, or, $3.5 million) went to three resettlement agencies in New York City; the remainder went to four such organizations in upstate New York and for state administration of the program. The agencies receiving funding in New York City are: 1) New York Association for New Americans ($3.315 million); 2) Church Avenue Merchants Business Association ($70,000); and, 3) International Rescue Committee ($115,000). Those receiving funding in upstate New York are: 1) Catholic Charities of Buffalo ($75,200); 2) Rochester Catholic Family Center ($133,600); 3) Utica/Mohawk Valley Resource Center ($166,400); and, 4) Albany International Center of the Capital Region ($24,800). Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $1.5 million $1.5 million. $1.5 million

Rent Supplement Program/Assessment Centers. A program administered jointly by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the New York City Department of Homeless Services provides financial assistance to landlords to provide permanent housing to Family Assistance recipients. TANF funds are directed to this program through the Emergency Assistance to Families program. Prior to the establishment of the TANF block grant, this program operated as the Emergency Assistance Rent Program and ran in three counties – New York City, Rockland and Suffolk – where a county-wide low-income vacancy rate of at least 3 percent was required for local district participation. Potential clients have been in shelters for 12 weeks and must demonstrate their ability to pay rent. This program is funded through a state appropriation matched by counties, or local districts (50-50), but it also has used shelter allowances and federal vouchers (Section 8) provided to localities – particularly in New York City – to generate sufficient rent payments for recipients. Since Section 8 vouchers have been cut back, the current program does not place as many people into permanent housing as under the Emergency Assistance Rent Program which placed 3,400 clients annually.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $9 million $12 million $12 million
MOE $9 million $9 million $12 million

State Operations. Workforce expenses made up of personal (salaries and fringe benefits) and non-personal services (supplies and materials, travel, contractual services, equipment). Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $45 million $55 million $55 million
MOE $15 million $15 million $18 million

TANF Day Care.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
MOE $78 million $78 million $104 million

Tier II Debt Service on Family Shelters. Payments to debt service on General Obligation Bonds taken out by New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s to build shelters that could accommodate families better than existing facilities. These bonds funded construction of both new buildings and rehabilitation of current buildings and are to be paid off over a 20 to 25 year period. Federal TANF funds pay 50 percent of the cost of this debt service program and state and local government funds pay 25 percent each based on current reimbursement estimates. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $10 million $10 million $10 million
MOE $10 million $10 million $10 million

Title XX (Social Services Block Grant) Transfer. The transfer of TANF funds to the Title XX grant primarily for locally-provided child welfare programs but also for homemaker or housekeeping services. Title XX funds may be used additionally for senior center services and to reimburse local districts for child care. Local social services districts receive allocations from Title XX funds to provide these programs to public assistance recipients and other low-income individuals. This aid is ongoing and does not require a matching effort from the state or local governments. The state was allowed to transfer up to 10 percent of its TANF grant to the Title XX social services block grant but beginning in federal fiscal year 2001, a state may transfer no more than 4.25 percent to this fund.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $160 million $207 million $233 million $233 million

Title XX – Foster Care Rates. Payments to offset exclusively specific recurring negotiated increases in rates at congregate care facilities. Over three-fourths, or more than $6 million, of these funds go to New York City and the balance goes to remaining districts in the state. Title XX money is used for expenditures normally undertaken with Family and Children Services Block Grant funds so that Family and Children Services Block Grant funds are available to pay for this cost.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million $8 million $8 million $8 million

Transition/Performance. This consists of three initiatives funded by allocations from the TANF block grant and administered by the Office of Temporary Disability and Assistance. The three initiatives are Transition Activities/Assessments, Local Flexibility Incentive Pilot Program and Performance Awards. Transition Activities/Assessments provide $10 million funding for implementing welfare reform to support recipient assessments, consulting/contracting services, equipment, office improvements, temporary staff, conferences and cultural change (as of November 1998). Allocations were established for each district against which districts may claim funding. The Local Flexibility Incentive Pilot Program provides $500,000 to local districts for pilot projects that aim to move public assistance recipients from welfare to self-sufficiency. Districts must submit a plan to receive funds. As of November 1998, four districts were approved to participate in this program: Erie, Monroe, Onondaga and Rockland. Performance Awards provide $11.5 million of competitive funding based on districts demonstrating improvement in: 1) job placements; 2) prevention and reduction of out-of-wedlock pregnancies; 3) placements of recipients from homeless shelters into permanent housing; 4) establishment of paternity for child support; and/or 5) increases in administrative efficiency. Local districts which receive awards also receive additional bonus money from a pool of funds allocated to districts not eligible to receive an award. Most funding is allocated to New York City.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $22 million

Transitional Opportunities Program. Proposal in the 2000-2001 Executive Budget to use TANF funds to establish physically separate offices in local social services districts to provide services to families that are employed but remain on temporary assistance and to families that left assistance within the past 12 months whose incomes are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Services to be provided include child care, case management, and help desks that provide assistance on obtaining earned income tax credits, Child Health Plus (medical insurance for children), further education, etc. Districts may opt into this program. It is an effort to replace the Child Assistance Program which has had difficulty recently in recruiting applicants and an attempt to create an environment or office outside of the welfare culture.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million

Transportation. This provides 100 percent federal funding for innovative solutions and current programs that help public assistance recipients to get to work and child care sites at locations and times when public transportation is not readily available (for example, work in the suburbs during weekends and evenings). Local social services districts receive federal TANF funding by application through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Public transportation systems that apply for funding enter into contracts with the Department of Transportation. Joint applications receive funding through a Department of Transportation contract with the public transportation agency or local government sponsor. As of May 1999, thirty-five districts had applied for money and 15 proposals had been recommended for funding which would serve a total of 20 counties and New York City. Project proposals include route expansion and new shuttle services. Administered by the Department of Labor, Department of Transportation and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $8 million $5 million $20 million $25 million

Wage Subsidy Demonstration Program. Provides funding through a request-for-proposal process to eligible not-for-profit community-based organizations to train and place Family Assistance recipients in viable employment situations. Through this one-year pilot, recipients are placed in the public and the private and nonprofit sectors; wages are subsidized and contractors engage in strong job retention efforts. Because participants will receive wages (not benefit checks) from paychecks issued by contractors or employers, they will qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $12 million

Welfare Management Systems Update. Funding to update the computer systems that manage public assistance data in New York to meet reporting requirements. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $50 million $10 million $30 million $50 million

Welfare Reform Contingency Reserve Fund. Reserve funds to guard against economic downturns that result in future costs to provide welfare assistance. This money is not actually reserved or set aside in the state’s ‘treasury’ since TANF funds are released to the states by the federal government only as reimbursement for actual expenditures.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $104 million $114 million $330 million $318 million

Welfare Reform Evaluation. Funding to examine the impacts and results of welfare reform in New York. The Rockefeller Institute of Government completed such an evaluation using these funds. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes to use additional TANF funding for this activity. Administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $.3 million $.5 million

Women, Infants and Children / Women, Infants and Children Expansion (WIC). Funding for food and nutrition education for the TANF eligible population of at-risk pregnant, postpartum and breast-feeding women, infants and children (up to five years old) served by the WIC program. The Title XX (Social Services Block Grant) and WIC programs have the same eligibility criteria for participation. The program is jointly administered by the Office of Children and Family Services and the Department of Health through a memorandum of understanding.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million $3 million $5 million $5 million

Workplace Accommodations. Funds to help make adults with psychiatric disabilities who receive benefits under the TANF program more employable. Since local mental health agencies come into contact with an estimated 55,000 Family Assistance recipients daily, the Department of Labor directs federal TANF funds to the Office of Mental Health to provide services through a memorandum of understanding. Competitive funding is awarded through the CASP process to social services districts in partnership with local mental health agencies. By May 1999, 14 such organizations had been awarded funding for such projects. This program is known also as Work Opportunities for Persons with Employment Barriers.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $3 million $1 million

Youth Education and Employment Training Program. Department of Labor program which provides in-school and out-of-school education and job training. The 2000-2001 Executive Budget proposes the use of TANF funds to refinance 75 percent of the in-school costs of this program.

SFY 1997-1998 SFY 1998-1999 SFY 1999-2000 SFY 2000-2001
TANF $2 million

 

Broad Attacks Needed on Income Gaps

February 1, 2000. An op ed by FPI’s Trudi Renwick, in Newsday.

A new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute reports that New York has the most unequal income distribution of the 50 states. Concerted action by both the public and private sectors is needed to reverse this imbalance.

The average income of the top 20 percent of New York families is 14 times as large as the average income of the poorest 20 percent. New York also has the third widest income gap between the rich and the middle class, behind only Arizona and New Mexico.

For the 11 largest states, the study also looks at the incomes of the richest 5 percent of families. In New York in the 1996-98 period, these families had incomes that averaged $269,051, or 25 times more than the incomes of the lowest fifth (which averaged $10,769 during this period) and 5.8 times greater than the average income ($46,756) of the middle fifth.

These findings are consistent with other evidence that New York State’s recent prosperity is not being widely shared. Since the late 1970s, no state has seen greater growth in the gap between rich and the poor than New York. In the late 1970s, New York had the most unequal income distribution of any northern industrial state (7.8 to 1), but it was very close to the national average of 7.4 to 1, and ranked “only” 12th among the 50 states. By the late 1980s, it ranked fourth and it now has a comfortable top ranking.

These widening income gaps are the result of two divergent trends. The average income of the top fifth of families is going in one direction -up -at the same time the average incomes of families in the other fifths are being pulled the opposite way, overwhelmingly by forces outside their control.

The average income of New York families in the top fifth of the income distribution grew 15 percent since the late 1980s, while the average income of New York’s bottom fifth fell 15 percent. The average incomes of families in the three middle fifths of the income distribution also fell.

Unfortunately, these widening gaps were not discussed by Gov. George Pataki in either his State-of-the-State Address or his budget message. He was also silent on the broad range of issues critical to ensuring that the economic well-being of low- and moderate-income families does not continue to deteriorate. These include ensuring that the unemployment insurance system works for low-wage workers (access to this safety net now is based on total wages earned rather than on the number of hours worked) and restoring the purchasing power of the minimum wage.

In the 1960s and 1970s, someone working full time at the minimum wage could keep a family of three out of poverty. Today, such a family would be well below the poverty line. It wasn’t until last month, however, that the governor, after more than three years, even agreed to bring New York’s $4.25 minimum wage up to the federal level. Never in history had New York gone this long with a minimum wage below the federal level.

Republican governors in neighboring states are taking a more enlightened approach. The minimum Connecticut wage is $6.15, a dollar above the federal rate. In Massachusetts, it’s $6 and will go to $6.75 a year from now.

New York needs a comprehensive strategic plan for reducing poverty, increasing job opportunities and making it easier for people to move up the socioeconomic ladder. At both the state and local level, religious, labor, civic, academic, philanthropic and business leaders can contribute to the development of such a plan by convening summit meetings and other forums at which people from different walks of life can explore the causes and the consequences of New York’s widening income gaps in a thorough and deliberative manner.