Meeting Basic Needs

Testimony at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2011-2012 Executive Budget Proposal – Human Services

February 16, 2011. Testimony submitted by Carolyn Boldiston, FPI's Senior Fiscal Policy Analyst. Her testimony includes: a review of New York State's recent public assistance caseload history, a review of New York's historical utilization of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, a review of the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of February 2009 on TANF funding and spending in New York State, and recommendations for the 2011-2012 state fiscal year.

Extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund is Essential to Bringing More Jobs and Needed Financial Support to New York State

September 17, 2010. The very tight budget situations that state and local governments continue to face may force them to reduce or eliminate services for needy families. This brief shows that an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund will help New York and the other states to continue their safety net programs without ravaging other parts of their budgets.

Extending the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund Would Bring More Dollars and Jobs to New York

May 19, 2010. To help needy families during the Great Recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, created a $5 billion Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF) within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant program. This brief shows that the TANF ECF has brought $935 million in new federal dollars to New York over the last year. With the nation continuing to experience high unemployment rates, an extension of the [...]

Casualty of Chaos: The Cost of Albany’s Inaction on Jobless Benefits

July 2, 2009. Albany inaction costs jobless New Yorkers $267 million. A potent tool for fighting downturn, unemployment benefits deliver economic stimulus where it's most needed. But New York's jobless benefit has been frozen since 2000, and now lags behind dozens of states. This report from FPI and the National Employment Law Project shows that upstate counties have been hurt the most by the legislature's failure to increase unemployment benefits. Press release Full report including county data

The TANF Emergency Contingency Fund: The Basics, and New York’s Experience with the Regular Contingency Fund

June 11, 2009. Part I - The Basics - and Part II - New York's Experience to Date Using the Regular Contingency Fund - are the first two of a series of briefs that looks into the rules governing the new Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF), reviews New York's experience with the regular Contingency Fund, and explores the situations under which New York may qualify for ECF funds. Also see Part III (August 11, 2009) - How New York Could Use the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund [...]

Economists’ Statement Opposing the Lazio Tax Proposal

July 18, 2008. Over 110 economists from throughout New York state say the Lazio tax cut proposals are economically and socially irresponsible, jeopardizing Social Security and Medicare. Full statement, followed by a list of the economists endorsing it. Several weeks ago, eight Nobel laureates and over 300 other economists issued a public statement opposing the large-scale tax cuts that are the centerpiece of presidential candidate George W. Bush’s economic proposals. We, the undersigned, as economists who live and/or work in New York State, believe that [...]

Working Families and Economic Security in New York: How Effectively Do Work Supports Bridge the Gaps?

June 11, 2008. Thirty percent of New Yorkers in working families can't cover basic needs with their wages. This report analyzes the effectiveness of "work support programs" (such as food stamps, Child Health Plus and the Earned Income Tax Credit) in bridging the hardship gap experienced by 5.7 million New Yorkers - that is, the gap between family wages and a basic family budget standard. Work supports make a difference, but more must be done. Press release, full report.

The Economics of Low Income Energy Assistance in New York – No Wonder They Call Economics the “Dismal” Science

May 20, 2008.  A presentation by FPI senior economist Trudi Renwick and Gerald Norlander of the Public Utility Law Project of New York, prepared for NYSERDA's 2008 Low-Income Forum on Energy (LIFE). With prices for power and heating fuel rising faster than wages or assistance - against a backdrop of widespread poverty in upstate cities - the situation is grim for low-income families. Renwick and Norlander lay out specific standards for reform of assistance programs.

New York’s unemployment insurance system: A vital safety net for New York workers and their families during economic downturns

March 12, 2008. The unemployment insurance system serves as government’s first responder to economic problems. This brief shows that New York could get more economic charge from the program. In a volatile economy with frequent layoffs and job changes, a strengthened unemployment insurance program will help boost the economy of every county in the state.

Testimony on the 2008-2009 Executive Budget – Human Services

February 5, 2008. Testimony submitted by FPI senior economist Trudi Renwick to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees. Renwick explains several important policy opportunities for New York: increase the basic welfare grant; liberalize the earned income disregard; finance the Earned Income Tax Credit from the General Fund; and take child care funding out of the Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS), to ensure that adequate resources go for this essential work support. Renwick includes a series of charts and tables describing TANF [...]

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