Renewed Push in Albany for State investment in Census Preparation

March 4, 2019. This article discusses the efforts of advocates in a statewide coalition calling on the governor and legislature to include $60 million in the executive budget for 2020 census preparation. The article quotes advocates who argue that this funding is needed to handle a variety of challenges due to the census being administered online for the first time and to ensure an accurate count by providing funding to community based organizations who are trusted by the hard-to-count population.

The Cuomo administration has previously said funds from Empire State Development will be identified after the state’s Complete Count Commission issues its spending recommendations, which isn’t expected to happen until after the budget is due.

A statewide coalition of community organizations is also calling for a $60 million state investment in community outreach to promote Census participation. According to the group, targeted outreach on parts of Long Island for the 2010 Census resulted in a 21 percent increase in response rates.

A study by the progressive Fiscal Policy Institute calls for at least $40 million for local outreach, which would be in addition to separate state funding for outreach and media campaigns.

The FPI predicts New York’s count will require more outreach than other states’ efforts because of the disproportionate share of “hard-to-count” populations — including immigrants including refugees, low-income residents, rural communities, the homeless and non-English speakers.

“More than ever before, trusted community voices will be needed to help build bridges to maximize participation in the Census,” reads the report.

Click here for the Times Union.

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