Immigrant Business Week Underway in Philly

March 30, 2017. In an article highlighting Philadelphia’s first Immigrant Business Week, which intends to celebrate and promote the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs, FPI’s report, Bringing  Vitality to Main Street, was quoted.

“Immigrant businesses contribute significantly to our country’s economy, especially to the city. They pay taxes, purchase properties help sustain our city’s financial stability.”

Kenney said a new report confirms his assessment.

“According to a report by the fiscal policy institute 96 percent of the growth of  our city’s main street small businesses between 2000 and 2013 was as a result of immigrants.”

Here is the link to News Works.


Albany Times Union: “Tracking state subsidies stymied by inconsistent transparency”

Inconsistent record-keeping, poor follow-up seen in state, local subsidy programs

“The problem is that we lack follow up on whether those jobs actually materialize and whether it is cost effective to be employing that type of strategy.” (read more)

Capitol Pressroom: Subsidies and sluggish Upstate job growth

March 28, 2017. By Alyssa Plock

A collaboration of reporting from Investigative Post, ProPublica, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism shows that despite billions in subsidies, upstate job growth remains sluggish. Today three guests join Susan Arbetter to analyze the subsidy issue: Jim Heaney, Founder, Editor and Executive Director of Investigative Post, Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and EJ McMahon, Founder and Research Director of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Philly Mayor Draws Incorrect Immigrant Biz Stat From Flawed Fact-Sheet

March 28, 2017. In an article featured in the Billy Penn, the author discusses how Philadelphia’s Mayor, Jim Kenney, quoted an immigrant business statistic from the 2015 Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce report that cited FPI’s report, “Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow.” The fact-sheet misinterpreted FPI and Americas Society/Council‘s statistic which referred to Main Street Businesses, not all business ownership.

The fact-sheet cited a 2015 Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce report, which itself was referencing analysis produced by the Fiscal Policy Institute: immigrant business owners accounted for 96 percent of Main Street business growth in the city from 2000 to 2013.

What are Main Street establishments, exactly? The research, which was co-produced by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, uses it as an umbrella term for the following categories of businesses: “neighborhood services,” like salons and laundromats; “accommodation and food services,” like taverns, restaurants, but also inns; “retail” including a wide range of shops.

After PolitiFact PA contacted representatives for the mayor, Kenney retweeted his earlier message with a new note that the figure was referring to Main Streets specifically.

Here’s the link to Billy Penn.

Investigative Post: “Job growth across upstate New York remains sluggish despite billions in economic development subsidies”

This is the first part of a series that runs through Thursday. The full lineup of stories, columns and radio interviews can be found here »

March 28, 2017

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sunk a lot of taxpayer money – $25 billion by his estimate – into recharging upstate’s moribund economy.

The governor has increased spending on subsidy programs to record levels, launched bold policy initiatives and crisscrossed upstate to announced projects he has frequently described as “game-changers.”

“Economic success is shared all across the state. It’s not just New York City that’s doing well, it’s the entire state,” the governor declared in his 2017 State of the State address in Syracuse.

That’s the rhetoric. The reality, as borne out by employment data, is decidedly different.

Employment upstate has grown by only 2.7 percent during Cuomo’s tenure – compared with 13.1 percent downstate and 11 percent nationally. Four of upstate’s 12 major metropolitan areas have actually lost jobs since Cuomo took office.

If it were a state, upstate’s job growth would rank fourth-worst in the nation, below, among others, Mississippi.

What’s more, 88 percent of the net jobs added upstate during the Cuomo years have been in low-wage sectors, led by restaurants and bars, employment data shows.

….“The governor has certainly ramped up economic development spending more than any governor in my 25-year history in Albany,” said Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed think tank.  (read full article)

Over 80 Upper-Income New Yorkers Urge Governor Cuomo and Legislature to Extend and Expand the Millionaires’ Tax

March 21, 2017. The Fiscal Policy Institute and Responsible Wealth released a letter signed by over 80 wealthy New Yorkers urging Governor Cuomo to extend and expand the millionaires’ tax, currently in place but set to expire at the end of this year.

Signers include Eileen Fisher, Abigail Disney, Steven C. Rockefeller, George Soros, David A. Levine, Dal LaMagna, Lewis B. Cullman, among other notable names. All signers, many members of the Responsible Wealth project, are residents of New York State with annual incomes of $650,000 or above, putting them in the top 1% of earners in the state.


PDF of list of news coverage of the story.

PDF of the full letter.

PDF of the press release.

PA Joins Other Cities in Legal Action Against Travel Ban; Cities Join States in Effort to Halt White House Order

March 24, 2017. FPI and Americas Society/Council of the Americas co-released report on immigrant business ownership, “Bringing Vitality to Main Street, How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow”, was cited in an amicus brief that Philadelphia submitted to the federal district court in Seattle to challenge President Trump’s travel ban.

The City of Philadelphia is among two dozen U.S. cities that have filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the federal district court in Seattle, where six States have challenged President Donald Trump’s second attempt at restricting travel into the United States from six majority-Muslim nations is being heard.

The City of Philadelphia provided data to counsel that prepared the amicus brief on behalf of the Cities.  Among that data:

In Philadelphia, in 2013, immigrants made up 14 percent of business owners, and 28 percent of the area’s “Main Street” business owners, including 23 percent of retail store owners and 34 percent of restaurant owners. Of approximately 13,000 immigrant business owners overall in metro Philadelphia, Iran is the 10th largest single country of birth for immigrant business owners.

Here is the link to The Philadelphia Sunday.

FPI Policy Brief Press Statement: Time to Expand the Millionaires’ Tax


Contact: Ron Deutsch, Fiscal Policy Institute, 518-469-6769,

March 7, 2017. The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) recently released a Policy Brief analyzing New York’s gross income disparity, recommending common sense solutions to narrowing the gap.

Since the 1980s, the income gap in the United States—as indicated by the wealthiest 1 percent’s share of total income—has grown significantly. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has been compiling income data since 1979, and has found that the top 1 percent’s income has grown exponentially, while that of the bottom 99 percent has grown at a much slower rate. According to a 2016 report published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) entitled “Income Inequality in the US By State, Metropolitan Area, and County”, the top 1 percent earned 45 times more than the bottom 99 percent in New York, representing the greatest disparity of any state.

 “New York state leads the nation in income inequality. We have the largest gap between those that earn the most and those that earn the least,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI). Deutsch further notes that nearly half (48 percent) of the total increase in incomes in New York from 2009 to 2015 accrued to the wealthiest 1 percent. “This extreme inequality is not only hurting our residents, it is hurting our economy as well.”

 While the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers are taking home the lion’s share of income gains, they pay a smaller share of their income in combined state and local taxes than lower and middle-income families—even with the state’s millionaires’ tax in effect. New York households with incomes under $100,000 pay higher effective state and local tax rates (ranging from 10.4 percent to 12 percent) than the wealthiest 1 percent of households (who pay 8.1 percent).

One reason the combined impact of state and local taxes is regressive is that most low- and middle-income families in New York pay a greater percentage of their income in sales and property taxes than they do in income taxes. Unfortunately, according to Deutsch, while New York State’s income tax is mildly progressive, it’s not progressive enough to offset the effects of highly regressive sales and local property taxes.

Given New York’s extreme income polarization, Deutsch emphasized that “The State’s top economic priority in 2017 has to be addressing its enormous income gap by passing an expanded millionaires’ tax.”

The best response to the regressive nature of New York’s overall state and local tax system is to make the personal income tax more progressive. To do that, New York should build on the governor’s proposed extension of the millionaires’ tax–currently set to expire at the end of 2017 –as well as implement either FPI’s 1% Plan for New York Tax Fairness or the Assembly Majority’s expansion plan, both plans would generate significantly more revenue ($2 billion or more) than straight extension.

“Our proposal would build on the state’s millionaires’ tax, retaining the phased-in middle class tax rates enacted last year, and increase tax rates slightly for the richest 1% of New York’s taxpayers,” says Deutsch.

The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that their 1% Plan would raise income tax revenues by approximately $6.2 billion, roughly $2.5 billion more than the governor’s proposed extension of the millionaires’ tax.

“The governor’s proposed extension of the millionaires’ tax will help New York continue to support statewide priorities from education to health care”, said Deutsch. “And while it will also help offset the regressive nature of New York’s overall state and local tax burden, FPI would like to see the state go one step further by pairing it with enhanced low-income tax credits and additional high-end tax brackets.”

For more information on FPI’s 1% Plan for New York Tax Fairness, please click here.


The Fiscal Policy Institute ( is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers.

Report: “Undervalued and Underpaid: How New York State Shortchanges Nonprofit Human Services Providers and Their Workers”

March, 2017. The substantial growth in New York’s nonprofit human services sector has come in response to a host of
social, demographic and economic changes. The State and its local governments have turned to nonprofit
organizations to provide these critical services; these are public services that serve many populations,
including children and those with low incomes striving to enter the middle class. Millions of New Yorkers are
directly served, and all New Yorkers reap the benefits of more stable communities when their neighbors are
able to pursue healthy and satisfying lives and seek better opportunities.

These essential human services, however, come at a cost, and they should be paid for—in their entirety—by
government. These are public services, provided in keeping with New York’s constitutional requirement
(Article 17: “the aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the State
…”) and legislative determinations. The nonprofit human services workforce is, in effect, an indirect
government workforce. Given their charitable missions, nonprofits have readily stepped forward to accept
this public service delivery responsibility. However, New York State has not held up its end of the bargain.
The underfunding of human services is a serious and growing problem. Click here for a PDF of the full report.

This report was prepared and written by James A. Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), with
the research assistance of Brent Kramer, FPI Senior Economist.

AP News: Rich New Yorkers Ask State to Raise Their Taxes

March 21, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Some of the wealthiest New Yorkers are asking the state to raise their taxes.

Eighty people including George Soros, Steven Rockefeller and Abigail Disney wrote to lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying they and other top earners can afford to pay more to support schools, roads, bridges and programs to help poor and homeless New Yorkers. (read more)

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