Radio: Create a Cleaner State Contract Process

May 23, 2017. Listen to Ron Deutsch, the executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and John Kaehny, the executive director of Reinvent Albany on the Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter. Deutsch and Kaehny provide an update on the push to create a cleaner state contracting process.

Here is the link to the Capitol Pressroom.

Being Poor: Meet ALICE the Working Poor

May 22, 2017. FPI’s Ron Deutsch joins Reg Foster, President and CEO of the United Way of New York State, Sharon F. Owens
of Syracuse Community Connections and Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, PhD National Director of United Way ALICE Project on a WPBS special to discuss why the employed can be considered impoverished and what can be done to help these families. Ron argues that there are millions of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet and that the federal poverty level is an antiquated measure that has no basis in reality. Ron also argues that while the $15 minimum wage is not the overall answer and that childcare should be taken into account and additional childcare should be provided because New York State is only meeting 15-percent of the demand. Ron also suggests investing more in rent subsidies. He also talks about the human services sector, where employees are also not making enough to make ends meet. He goes on to discuss how lower wage jobs are being added to the workforce but not higher paying jobs and that we are not training low-income people to fill the higher paying positions. He suggests that we need to reform our economic development system to a bottom-up approach, instead of the current top-down approach. Ron discusses his concern about Medicaid and how it is moving from an entitlement program to a block grant, which will only cover a smaller amount of people, which will in turn make the working poor lives’ harder. Lastly he discusses the need of assets that are needed to become economically secure and that we are not helping the working poor purchase homes, attend college and that Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are underfunded. He suggests reforms such as tying the $9 billion spent on economic development programs on anti-poverty initiatives.

Here is the link to the WMHT PBS episode.

Another Voice: Driver’s License Should Be Available to All Immigrants

May 18, 2017. Jennifer R. Guzmán argues that undocumented immigrants, who we rely on for our dairy, fruits and vegetables, are struggling to fulfill their basic needs because they are prevented from obtaining a driver’s licenses and are overcharged for rides to work, the grocery store and other places. She goes on to discuss the benefits to all if the New York State Assembly Bill A4050 is passed. She cites FPI’s and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s reports in order to make this case.

This proposed law would benefit all New Yorkers. According to impact reports by the Fiscal Policy Institute and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, restoring access to licenses will boost state and local economies. License and vehicle registration fees will contribute to county governments and transportation infrastructure. And an increase in licensed drivers will likely lower insurance premiums for everyone. The average cost of auto insurance is $17.22 lower in states where undocumented residents can drive.

We rely on them for the dairy, fruits and vegetables we eat every day. Immigrant farmworkers shop in our businesses and belong to our churches. Their children are classmates with our children.

There are concrete benefits associated with Assembly Bill A4050, but more importantly, we owe this gesture of decency to our undocumented neighbors. We should urge our elected officials to pass this legislation.

Here is the link to The Buffalo News.

Statistics Show Syrian Refugees Help Host Country Economies

May 12, 2017. In an article featured in the Nonprofit Quarterly, the author argues that Syrian refugees contribute to their host countries’ economies and uses data on Turkey and the U.S. to demonstrate this. The author cites the report, “Syrian Immigrants in the United States: A Receiving Community for Today’s Refugees,” which was co-released by FPI and the Center for American Progress, to support her argument. She also argues that we should not focus on the negative rhetoric used, rather on the positive contributions that they can make to their host countries.

The Washington Post quoted David Dyssegaard Kallick, senior fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute, as saying, “The United States accepts refugees on humanitarian grounds, not to improve the American economy. But, the striking success of Syrian immigrants in this country should give us some confidence that Syrian refugees can become integrated and successful here.”

Maybe it’s time for the conversation to focus not on how to minimize the damage, but how to maximize the benefits. Maybe nonprofits focused on economic growth and those focused on refugee advocacy and integration have more in common than we previously thought. When we say that we’re stronger as a country when we’re inclusive and open, it has real meaning, and there’s data to back it up.

Here is the link to Nonprofit Quarterly.

Government Watchdogs Push ‘Clean Contracting’ Reform in Albany

May 11, 2017. FPI and a coalition of other organizations are calling on Governor Cuomo to sign a bill for “clean contracting” in response to the bid-rigging scandal last year. The coalition calls on the Governor to restore the power to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for all state contracts exceeding $250,000, an end to non-academic contracting by state-controlled non-profit organizations, the creation of a comprehensive “database of deals,” and a prohibition against state authorities, corporations, and affiliated non-profits doing business with their board members.

“How many scandals and indictments are needed before we enact any meaningful reforms,” asked Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a think tank. “We need to restore the public’s trust and put real accountability measures in place to ensure that we have full transparency and a solid return on investment before we continue to provide billions of taxpayer dollars to private businesses under the guise of economic development.”

Here is the link to the Gotham Gazette.

Seeking Clean State Contracting

May 10, 2017. FPI’s executive director, Ron Deutsch, joins Alex Camarda, of Reinvent Albany, and David Friedfel, from the Citizens Budget Commission, on Capital Tonight to discuss the possibility of an anti-rigging bill being passed this year. Ron argued that the time for reform is now.

Here is the link to the Capital Tonight Episode.

Undocumented Immigrants in US Make Big Contribution in Taxes

May 4, 2017. This article discusses how immigrant youth, protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are often perceived as not paying taxes, when they do. In order to make this argument, they cite FPI and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s co-released report on DACA recipients tax contributions. FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick also argues that their tax contributions are often overlooked. The article also argues that DACA recipients hope that their tax contributions will help them when they apply for permanent legal status.

“Their contributions are very substantial. They’re a big part of the promise for the future,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute Research Institute and co-author of the study. Kallick added, “I think it’s not recognized enough that what they’re doing is, in fact, making a real contribution.”

The study, which was co-conducted by the Institute of Taxation and Economic policy, shows that the 1.3 million young people who are eligible for DACA (not all have applied), paid more than $2 billion nationally in state and local taxes in 2015.

In 2015, according to Fiscal Policy Institute Research Institute, America’s undocumented immigrants paid an estimated $11.7 billion in state and local taxes across the 50 states.

Here is the link to Voice of America.

Editorial: New Deportation Policy Has Human, Fiscal Cost

May 2, 2017. An editorial discusses the deportation case of Martin Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for 30 years, has a working permit, but also has two drunken driving convictions from over a decade ago. The author discusses sanctuary cities and argues how they try to distinguish between serious and minor crimes, and that new deportation policies make it difficult to fight crime. In the article, the author also argues that there are human and fiscal costs, and cites FPI’s and ITEP’s co-released report on DACA recipients tax contributions.

That’s why police in Newburgh and other cities that have embraced the notion of offering sanctuary have tried to make a distinction between serious crimes and dangerous criminals on the one hand and those like Martinez on the other. But no matter how well they explain their approach, they know that each deportation makes it that much harder for them to get the kind of information they need to solve and prevent crimes, information that can only come from the immigrant community which now has one less reason to trust any authorities.

And if that is not enough, consider another cost, not a human one but a financial one.

Just this week the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, two nonpartisan organizations that regularly analyze the fiscal implications of public policies, calculated something that often goes unnoticed — the economic contribution of these facing deportation.

Those undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as youngsters and have been shielded thus far from deportation pay $140 million in state and local taxes in New York. Add all those across the nation and the figures rises to $2 billion.

Here is the link to the Times Herald-Record.

We Are Moving Toward a Cashless World

May 1, 2017. FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick is featured on Fox 5 News discussing the possibility of a “cashless future.” He argues how it is good, it is easier, and how it can help eliminate black market activity and corruption.

The owner of Harlem Pizza Company said the majority of his clients, in fact about 90 percent of them, use credit or debit cards to pay. He said he actually prefers it that way.

“The cash is a burden I think on the merchant because whether it’s the manager or the general manager or the owner, there has to be cash handling, there has to be counting, that cash then has to get deposited into the account,” Alper Uyanik said.

Here is the link to Fox 5 News.