Legal Status for Dreamers Boosts NY Tax Revenue

April 26, 2017. In an article discussing the findings of a 50-state report by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and co-released in New York with FPI, David Dyssegaard Kallick, Director of FPI’s Immigration Research Initiative, was quoted.

The Trump administration is sending mixed messages about whether those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status by the Obama administration will be deported or allowed to stay and work legally. David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said he believes one consideration should be the contributions young immigrants are making, in New York and nationally.

“DACA recipients contribute $140 million to New York state and local tax revenues,” he said. “So, we wanted to show the very substantial contribution of young people who are, in all kinds of ways, making real contributions to the economy and to our state’s society.”

“These are people who are working, they’re people who are going to school, they’re serving in the military,” he said. “Why would we want to be deporting these kids, who grew up side-by-side with my kids in school? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Here is the link to the Public News Service.

Immigrant Youth Add $140 Million to NY State Tax Revenues

April 25, 2017. What will happen to immigrant youth who as children were brought to the United States without legal status and were temporarily shielded from deportation by a 2012 executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA? The Trump Administration is projecting very mixed messages about the present and future of these young people.

To help shed some light on how DACA has allowed these young immigrants to contribute to our country and our state, a new report shows the state and local tax contributions of young people eligible for DACA. The 50-state analysis was conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and it is co-released in New York by the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Click here for the New York Press Release.

Click here for the 50-State Report.

Two Tax Code Changes That Could Greatly Benefit Working New Yorkers

Editorial By Ron Deutsch and Reg Foster for New York Nonprofit Media

April 14, 2017

We may see this year, among other surprises from Washington, the first effort in many years to make significant revisions to the tax code. In the last presidential election, all sides expressed concern for the conditions of working Americans who are facing retreating opportunities and wages. We hope for a resurgent economy, but for now, revamping the tax code offers an opportunity to actually help New Yorkers in a way that may attract bipartisan support: tax credits. (read more)

A Gender-Wage War Cuomo Fails to Fight

By , New York Daily News

April 20, 2017

Gov. Cuomo recently announced a comprehensive study of New York’s gender wage gap, including at least four public hearings to develop recommendations for tackling this problem.

We appreciate the sentiment, but if the governor truly wants to address this issue, he should start in his backyard — by looking at his own policies of setting wages barely above the poverty line for social assistance workers under contract with New York State.

Through these contracts, the state is responsible for setting the wages for hundreds of thousands of workers who deliver critical programs — including homeless services, mental health care and elder assistance.

Human services workers are overwhelmingly women (more than 80%) and heavily women of color (44% of the total). And they are some of the lowest-paid workers in New York’s economy.

The Restore Opportunity Now campaign, a coalition of more than 340 nonprofit organizations across the state, recently released a report showing human services have been one of the leading job growth sectors in New York’s economy over the past several decades, particularly in economically stagnant areas of the state.

This sector accounted for 21% of all private job growth in the suburbs and upstate from 1990 to 2016. But despite being well-educated, this workforce earns only 40% of the average for all workers in New York.

According to an analysis by the Fiscal Policy Institute, 50% to 75% of human services workers in New York are paid less than $15 an hour, a greater share than in all other industries. (read more)

Medicaid Supports New York’s Schools and Children

For immediate release:
April 20, 2017
Contact:
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute
518-786-3156 (o), 518-469-6769 (c)
Christy DeBoe Hicks, State Communications Specialist, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
(202) 408-1080; cdhicks@cbpp.org

 Medicaid Supports New York’s Schools and Children

House Republican Plans to Cut Medicaid Would Jeopardize Critical Health Services for Students

[Albany, NY] – New York’s schools receive over $273 million from Medicaid each year, according to data released by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This funding pays for medical services for Medicaid-eligible students with disabilities, such as mental health and speech therapy. It also covers vision and dental screenings provided in schools to Medicaid-eligible children, and helps schools connect low-income children to other health care services that aren’t provided in schools, but are critical to a child’s development.

“Medicaid plays a little known but important role in supporting New York State’s schools and making sure children in our schools, especially those with disabilities, get the care and services they need,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.

House Republicans continue to pursue the American Health Care Act (AHCA), however, to replace the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama administration. As it stands, the AHCA would cut federal Medicaid funding by $839 billion over the next decade. In addition to putting health care at risk for millions of Americans, these efforts would jeopardize critical health-related services for school-aged children and put an important source of funds for schools and states at risk.

In its current form, Medicaid provides affordable and comprehensive health care coverage for millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children across the country, including over 2.5 million children in New York State alone. Medicaid also provides funding to help schools pay the salaries of health care and other staff who provide important services to students, not just those with Medicaid coverage. In fact, in 2017, 68 percent of school superintendents reported that they used Medicaid funding to keep school nurses, school counselors, speech therapists, and other health professionals on staff.

Any cuts to Medicaid could jeopardize the benefits these health care professionals provide.

Moreover, Medicaid funding cuts could squeeze New York’s education budget, impeding efforts to help schools implement proven reforms such as hiring and retaining excellent teachers, reducing class sizes, and expanding the availability of high-quality early education —vital components to helping all children thrive in school.

“Without the support they get from Medicaid, many schools throughout New York would struggle to afford keeping nurses and counselors on staff, struggle to give students with disabilities the services they need and are entitled to receive, and struggle to provide basic screenings for Medicaid-eligible children,” said Deutsch. “Policymakers in Washington should protect Medicaid – not cut it.”

To learn more about how Medicaid helps schools, please visit: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-helps-schools-help-children

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The Fiscal Policy Institute (www.fiscalpolicy.org) 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.

Still Time to Enact Economic Transparency Measures

By John Kaehny, Commentary

More information: John Kaehny is Executive Director of Reinvent Albany. Also contributing to this article were Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and Dave Friedfel, Director of State Studies for the Citizens Budget Commission.

Albany Times Union, Published 6:00 pm, Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Last week, the state Legislature approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request to spend about $6.5 billion on a grab bag of economic development projects and business tax breaks — more than three times what the state will spend on clean drinking water. Unfortunately, left out of the budget were common sense transparency and accountability measures that are badly needed to ensure economic development funding is easy to track, and that projects are a good investment for taxpayers.

The governor and lawmakers should be feeling significant pressure to enact meaningful reforms. This is the first state budget since nine people — including top aides to the governor — were arrested last October for allegedly rigging $800 million in upstate economic development funds. (read more)

Viewpoints: Like Google, Apple and Uber? Thank an Immigrant

April 14, 2017. In an article highlighting the significant contributions that immigrants make to the economy through business ownership, the author discusses their role in the creation of fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses. This article cites a co-released report by the Americas Society/Council on the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute, Bringing Vitality to Main Street.

Just consider: Of the Fortune 500 companies, 90 were founded by immigrants, a 2011 report showed.

And it’s not just the billion-dollar blockbuster companies that are making an outsized contribution to U.S. competitiveness.  Small business and entrepreneurship – the backbone of the U.S. economy – also have immigrant founders.

Yet another report published in 2015 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Americas Society/Council on the Americas, in cooperation with the Fiscal Policy Institute, shows that immigrants comprise 28 percent of Main Street business owners in the U.S. – the small businesses that provide services and products to our local communities.

Here is the link to azcentral.

City Plans Hearing To Crack Down on Employers Taking Advantage Of Immigrants

April 11, 2017. An article featured in Crain’s New York Business draws attention to the hearing scheduled for April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College’s Little Theater, where wage theft, discrimination, scheduling problems, health and safety hazards, access to paid sick leave, and freelancer payment problems will be addressed and how the city government can help to protect workers against these issues. The article argues that employers are using the fear created by immigration policies to take advantage of their workers. This article cites FPI’s report, Working For A Better Life.

Citing “the shifting priorities in Washington. D.C.,” city agencies will solicit ideas for how to protect immigrant workers against employers that might be taking advantage of a climate of fear surrounding the Trump administration’s increased deportation efforts, according to a notice in the City Record.

Immigrants comprise around 47% of the city’s 3.9 million labor force. About a tenth of the city’s workforce is estimated to be residing in the United States illegally, according to an analysis from the Pew Research Center prepared for the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Employers are also worried that the federal crackdown on unauthorized workers could hurt their businesses. Many in the restaurant industry were “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump’s January executive order vastly broadening deportation priorities, New York Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie told Crain’s soon after it was signed. But local industries most affected, including service and construction, have been hesitant to weigh in publicly…

Here is the link to Crain’s New York Business.

Report: New York Gives Corporations More In Tax Breaks Than Any Other State

New York’s business tax incentives, a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo‘s two terms in office, are the most expensive and among the least effective of any in the country, according to a recent study by an economist.

…Developers who so happen to be Cuomo donors and recipients of tax breaks and copious state money for similar signature economic development projects are also at the center of federal criminal cases against two former aides to the governor and his handpicked nano-technology czar. The latest budget includes another $400 million for the Buffalo Billion projects at the center of the scandal.

This, according to another budget observer, is bizarre.

“Despite multiple federal indictments, poor program audits and lackluster annual reports, the state continues to move full steam ahead on economic development efforts without putting in place reasonable accountability and transparency measures to ensure the state is spending this money wisely,” said Ron Deutsch, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. Both the Institute and the Commission are calling for the state to release more comprehensive data to the public about who is receiving what from economic development programs, and whether the public is getting its money’s worth. (full article)

FPI Releases 2017-2018 Budget Statement

For immediate release: April 11, 2017

Contact:
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director
518-786-3156 (o), 518-469-6769 (c), deutsch@fiscalpolicy.org
David Dyssegaard Kallick, Senior Fellow, Director, Immigration Research Initiative
212-721-7164 (o), 646-284-1240 (c), ddkallick@fiscalpolicy.org

FPI Statement on 2017-18 Enacted State Budget

There’s no question the newly-minted state budget contains some important public policy issues that should be lauded. However, given the governor’s very vocal concerns about funding threats from Washington, we sadly missed an opportunity to be proactive in protecting New York from potential federal budget cuts, and to provide funding streams to allow flexibility in making adjustments as needed.

While the budget extends the millionaires’ tax in its current form for two years, it fails to adopt the assembly’s proposal to expand the tax further by increasing the number of top-end brackets and making the new structure permanent. The assembly expansion proposal would have generated an additional $2 billion in revenue that could have provided the financial cushion necessary to address potential federal funding losses in 2018. Moreover, passage of the assembly’s proposal would have resulted in a more progressive state income tax structure that could have balanced out the current regressivity of New York’s overall state and local tax structure.

The governor’s “Federal Funding Response Plan,” which was tempered with “dose of democracy” thanks to push-back from the senate and assembly, will not allow the governor to unilaterally determine how to address federal funding gaps. In the event of federal funding cuts, the governor would release a detailed plan on how to close the gap. The legislature would then have 90 days to come up with their own plan, or choose to accept the governor’s plan. This provides the checks and balances needed to ensure a measured response that not only considers state budget cuts, but revenue enhancements as well.

While FPI applauds the recognition of the need for checks and balances regarding unexpected budget considerations, New York fell short in recognizing that same need for economic development spending. Despite multiple federal indictments, poor program audits and lackluster annual reports, the state continues to move full steam ahead on economic development efforts without having in place reasonable accountability and transparency measures to ensure the state is spending this money wisely. The budget contains a new, regrettably misnamed, Comprehensive Economic Development Report that requires the state to only report limited aggregate data. FPI continues to call upon Empire State Development Corporation to create a comprehensive, online “Database of Deals” which would show all of the economic development benefits received by individual companies, and to enact real, common sense procurement and contracting reforms.

On immigration, the final budget agreement represents some important steps forward, but also some real missed opportunities.

We are particularly pleased to see $2 million included to support the work of refugee resettlement agencies. This is a small number in the context of the New York State budget, but it is a huge help at a time when refugees are under attack, and when the federal government is an unreliable partner to the resettlement agencies that serve them. It is also a good news for upstate New York cities, where the overwhelming majority of the state’s refugees live. Those cities rely on resettlement agencies as anchor institutions in their communities, and they depend on refugees and other immigrants to help stem population decline and revitalize the local economy.

The governor made some bold promises around immigrant legal services in the past months, but didn’t include funding to make good on them in his executive budget. It is encouraging to see that the governor, senate, and assembly included in the final budget $10 million for legal services, and potentially for related services such as English language instruction or job training. This is not enough to fully make good on the promise, but it is a real step in the right direction.

There were also, however, some important opportunities that were missed in the budget negotiations. For too many years, the governor and the legislature have been playing games around the New York State DREAM Act. A year when the state is investing in making college affordable for middle-income students would have been an obvious moment to finally pass this long-stalled bill. A targeted expansion of support to English language instruction would seem like a no-brainer, supporting immigrants while helping improve social conditions and economic productivity. The budget did not do anything to increase funding to the Department of Labor to strengthen worker protections, though the department lacks the resources to fully do its job. Discussions about providing health care for New Yorkers who are excluded from existing programs did not get resolved in this budget, representing another important missed opportunity.

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The Fiscal Policy Institute (www.fiscalpolicy.org) 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.