March 2017 NYC Budget Presentation

In his briefing on Mayor deBlasio’s Preliminary FY 2018 NYC Budget, James Parrott highlights the following:

Cautious in face of an uncertain Washington: Federal aid is 1/3 of State budget (which is 18% of City budget); 8-10 % of City budget; 64% of NYCHA budget; and nearly half of the Health and Hospitals budget.

State budget better this year, but still challenges: Governor proposed to extend millionaires tax, but it should be enhanced; threat to CFE-settlement determined school aid; handful of negative budget impacts for NYC.

Before Trump’s budget outline and the proposed American Health Care Act (Trumpcare), the preliminary City budget looked reasonable: Manageable budget gaps, reasonable reserves and moderate revenue growth in the context of slower job growth with wage and income growth improving.

Parrott summarized some of the initiatives taken by the deBlasio administration that reduce income inequality and outlined additional actions that could be taken. He also noted that the extended recovery and low unemployment are starting to provide real gains for workers and their families, noting the following indicators: NYC’s unemployment rate fell to 4.5% in January, the lowest level on record since 1976; real median household income rose 5.1% in 2015; from 2013-16, real wages have increased by 7.1% for workers at the 1st decile in the wage distribution, and by 8.4% for workers at the median; and for black workers over this period, real wages at the 1st decile rose 8.9%, and for the median black worker, 14.5%. Latino workers also saw significant, but smaller, real wage gains.

PDF of full budget presentation here.

Trump’s Merit-Based Immigration Plan Could Mean a Smaller Buffalo

March 14, 2017. In an article featured in the Buffalo News, impacts on Buffalo due to President Trump’s possible merit-based immigration plan are discussed such as population decline, a smaller tax-base, an older population and a decrease in availability of workers for jobs that pay lower wages. FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick was quoted discussing the impact Trump’s merit based immigration plan would have on the workforce.

Trump asked the two senators to work on adding a merit-based component to their bill. Under such a system, would-be immigrants would be awarded points based on their education and skills, and the people with high point scores would be allowed to move to the United States.

That would mean America would welcome the kind of highly skilled immigrants who work at places like the University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Medical Campus – but few others.

And while those immigrants are the ones Trump most wants to crack down on, even that could cause economic complications. Farmers already complain to Western New York members of Congress that they may lose the foreign-born workforce they need to bring in the crops, which, on occasion, includes undocumented immigrants.

Other employers who  offer low-wage jobs face the same worry, said David D. Kallick, a fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute who has studied undocumented immigrants in the state.

“They feel it’s going to be very difficult to replace these workers,” Kallick said. “They are pretty confident they are not going to find the U.S.-based workforce.”

Here is the link to The Buffalo News.

Billing the Benefits

March 13, 2017. FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick was quoted in an article, featured in the Manhattan Times, discussing the tax and economic contributions of undocumented immigrants and the effects a mass deportation program could possibly have in New York State. 

David Dyssegaard Kallick, Director of the Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative, said that tax revenue would increase by another $247 million a year if those people were able to work legally.

The report also predicted that a policy of mass deportation would cause a huge disruption in the state’s economy. Kallick said he believes that if the undocumented immigrants currently in New York were removed, the total loss would be much more than billions of dollars in tax revenue and economic output.

As an example, he pointed to the decline in tourism that already has begun as some foreign travelers avoid visiting the United States. While the Trump administration has indicated it may back off from its extreme stance on immigration enforcement, Kallick noted that the threat of deportation still hangs over the heads of an estimated 817,000 people in New York.

“That’s more than the entire population of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers combined,” he said. “It would be an enormous undertaking and it would be, I think, hugely disruptive and really kind of horrifying.”

Here is the link to the Manhattan Times.

Charita Goshay: The Golden Door Swings Both Ways

March 12, 2017. FPI’s immigrant business ownership statistics were cited in an article arguing that hostility, violence and anger against immigrants is not “American” and that the door, referred to as the “Golden Door,” which is shutting immigrants out can be used to leave and find a more homogeneous home.

We now are in the midst of mosque burnings, and a series of bomb threats aimed at Jewish facilities across the country, not to mention the cemeteries that have been vandalized. The seepage of anti-Semitism, once relegated to the fever swamps occupied by the fringe, is trying to make its way back into the daylight.

There is a belief that to allow immigration is to put ourselves in danger and out of work when the facts bear out that immigrant communities experience less crime than others, and immigrants create far more jobs than they take.

Though immigrants make up just 13 percent of the population, they create 30 percent of all small businesses, the chief driver of new jobs, according to the Pew Research Center and the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Here is the link to the Canton Rep.

Letter: Immigrants, refugees greatly benefit region

March 10, 2017. A letter was featured in The Buffalo News in response to FPI’s David Dyssegaard and International Institute of Buffalo’s executive director, Eva Hassett’s op-ed discussing refugee’s contributions to Buffalo’s economic revitalization and the need for funding for resettlement agencies facing federal funding cuts.

Regarding the Sunday Viewpoints article about refugees, by David Dyssegaard Kallick and Eva Hassett: I hope many people read it and heard the message, that refugees are good for the Buffalo and Western New York economies. We, as Americans, are shooting ourselves in the foot by making it more difficult for immigrants and refugees to come here.

Personally, my family has welcomed people of different cultures into our home for many years – not because it was good for our household’s bottom line, but because it was a joy to learn about them and their cultures. Let’s continue to welcome refugees and immigrants to Western New York because it’s good for our economy and good for our souls.

Rebecca Hyde

Here is the link to The Buffalo News.

The link to the op-ed is here.

2017 Budget Forum, Elmira, NY

March 8, 2017 – Fiscal Policy Institute Holds Information Session

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) – The Fiscal Policy Institute, a group affiliated with the labor movement offered an information session on the state budget at Catholic Charities in Downtown Elmira on Wednesday.

One major issue discussed was the millionaires’ tax, which is set to expire at the end of this year. State legislators can let it expire, extend it as is, or expand it.

The Fiscal Policy Institute claims expanding the millionaires’ tax would largely affect downstate taxpayers, but would benefit upstate taxpayers. They said expanding the tax could providing more funding for things schools, hospitals and healthcare.

“Given the fact that New York has the greatest income inequality of any state in the country and the wealthiest 1% New Yorkers tend to pay a much smaller percentage of their income in state and local taxes than do the middle class and the working class in this state,” Ron Deutsch. “So we think there’s room to expand the millionaires’ tax.”

Deutsch said expanding the millionaires’ tax would both address income inequality and the unmet needs across the state. Despite claims that taxing millionaires would drive them away, Deutsch said 33 percent more millionaires are living in New York since the tax was put in place.

Click here to see the news coverage.

GUEST VIEW: Refugees Good for Utica’s Economic Development

March 8, 2017. In an op-ed, FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick and executive director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Shelly Callahan, argue that refugee resettlement is good for Utica’s economic revitalization.

Immigrants and refugees are already reversing population loss. Over the past 15 years, Utica finally turned around its population decline, stabilizing and even squeaking out a little bit of population growth, according to Census Bureau estimates. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll see a story about the importance of refugees and immigrants. Between 2000 and 2015, the U.S.-born population dropped by 3,100. That loss was offset by growth of 3,500 in the foreign-born population–and in Utica, a big share of that is about refugees.

Refugees need support to get established, but do well once on their feet. A recent national study by the Fiscal Policy Institute and Center for American Progress shows this for Somali, Burmese, Hmong and Bosnian refugee communities. The study showed that refugees get jobs quickly and make substantial gains in earnings over time. Homeownership rates are high: three of the four refugee groups studied had higher rates of home ownership than U.S.-born families after 10 years.

Here’s the link to Utica’s Observer Dispatch.

Policy Brief: Expand the Millionaires’ Tax and Address New York’s Worst-in-the-Nation Income Inequality

March 7, 2017. The millionaires’ tax is New York’s fiscal Swiss Army knife, a tool that addresses many different needs. It helps fund important priorities, balance the New York State budget, respond to heightened income inequality, and lessen the overall regressive state and local tax structure. And it is very much needed in New York today.

PDF of full Policy Brief

Viewpoints: Refugees are Powering Buffalo’s Revitalization

March 2, 2017. In an op-ed, FPI’s David Dyssegaard Kallick and Eva Hassett, executive of the International Institute of Buffalo argue that refugee resettlement is good for the Buffalo economy.

The biggest challenge facing Buffalo is population decline. In 1950, Buffalo had 578,000 residents. In 2015, the population was 283,000, less than half that number. That means empty and deteriorating houses, schools and shops; lower tax revenues to support infrastructure; and fewer working-age residents to support job growth.

Immigrants and refugees are already reversing population loss. Over the past 15 years, Buffalo’s U.S.-born population continued to decline, while its immigrant population grew. It didn’t quite balance out, but it’s getting close – between 2000 and 2015, the U.S.-born population dropped by 22,000 while the number of immigrants grew by 12,000.

Here’s the link to the Buffalo News.

Economic and Tax Contributions of Undocumented Immigrants in NY

Tuesday, March 2. As the Trump Administration talks about a program of mass deportation – or, who knows, perhaps not? – the question of what contribution undocumented immigrants make to the New York economy is more important than ever. This new report finds that unauthorized immigrants are responsible for $40 billion, or three percent, of New York’s economic output, and make up five percent of the labor force. They also pay taxes—a total of $1.1 billion in state and local taxes in New York.

The report also has regional profiles of unauthorized immigrants in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and Northern and Western New York.

View the press release.

View the full report.


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