Economic Security & Opportunity

Federal Welfare Windfall Frees New York Money for Other Uses

April 23, 2000. Raymond Hernandez reporting for the New York Times quotes FPI’s Frank Mauro.

In the four years since the overhaul of the nation’s welfare laws, New York has taken at least $1 billion given to it by the federal government for new antipoverty programs and used it instead to indirectly finance huge tax cuts and other programs that appeal to middle-class voters, according to government and private estimates.

The budgetary switch has been employed by other states, prompting … (read more)

Inside the New State Budget: A Welfare Slush Fund

April 17, 2000. An update from City Limits Weekly (No. 224), New York’s urban affairs news magazine. Reported by Annia Ciezadlo.

Add a new one to the list of behavioral changes wrought by welfare reform: the TANF land grab. Since the old welfare program was replaced with the more flexible Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant in 1997, and since declining welfare rolls have left a hefty surplus of unspent funds, states have been using this cash much more … (read more)

Catholic Conference opposes TANF ‘raid’

April 12, 2000. A story by Jamie D. Gilkey in the Troy Record.

In the midst of efforts to reach a final deal on the state budget, opposition grew Tuesday to a proposal that would use more than $100 million originally intended to aid poor families to supplement the wages of health care workers.

Among the new critics of the plan is the New York State Catholic Conference, which The Record has learned sent a letter to all state … (read more)

Critics call plan ‘raid’

April 11, 2000. A story by Jamie D. Gilkey in the Troy Record. FPI’s Frank Mauro is quoted.

With state budget negotiations making rapid headway towards a final agreement, a proposal that initially would have diverted $165 million from a fund meant to help welfare recipients is running into resistance from a scattered group of health care and community activists, according to information obtained by The Record.

Sources  say that negotiators for the state Senate presented a scaled-down version … (read more)

Head of Congressional welfare reform panel tells all 50 Governors it’s essential that states use their TANF resources and use them wisely

Early in 1999, U.S. Representative Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT), chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, which has jurisdiction over TANF, sent a letter to the governors of all 50 states urging them to spend more of their TANF funds or risk having Congress take some portion back. This warning was made more concrete by several congressional attempts later in 1999 to rescind some unspent TANF funds. Fortunately, from the perspective of the states and from… (read more)

How Much Additional TANF Spending Can New York Afford?

March 27, 2000. New from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and specific to New York:

How Much Additional TANF Spending Can New York Afford? New York Can Increase Use of TANF Funds While Maintaining A Rainy Day Reserve

Early in 1999, Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, chair of the Human Resources subcommittee of the Ways and Means committee, sent a letter to all governors that urged them to spend more of their TANF funds or risk having Congress take some … (read more)

Letter from Nancy L. Johnson sent individually to all 50 governors

March 15, 2000. A copy of the letter below was sent to each of the 50 governors. Ms. Johnson is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives.

The Honorable Don Siegelman Governor of Alabama State Capitol 600 Dexter Avenue Montgomery, AL 36130-2751

Dear Governor Siegelman:

As you may recall, I wrote last year urging you and other governors to increase the rate at which TANF money is spent, because there … (read more)

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 … (read more)

Social Security Keeps More Than 800,000 Elderly New Yorkers Out of Poverty

April 8, 1999. Over 500,000 are women. Press release:

A new analysis by the Washington-D.C. based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities confirms that Social Security is our nation’s most important safety net program. In New York State, for example, over one million elderly would be living in poverty if it were not for Social Security. This essential social insurance program lifts a over 800,000 elderly New Yorkers out of poverty. Social Security is particularly important to the economic well-being … (read more)

Providing Paid Family Leave Through the Temporary Disability Insurance Program: An Attractive and Affordable Option

January 1999. A brief by Carolyn Boldiston.

Over the last twenty-five years, the numbers of people that work and also care for children and parents have increased dramatically. To respond to this situation, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993 which finally required employers to provide leave to care for one’s own serious health condition, including pregnancy, and to care for a new child or a seriously ill child, spouse or parent.

While the FMLA protects … (read more)