Reports, Briefs and Presentations

Local Government Reliance on Fines and Fees to Raise Revenues Hurts Residents and Communities

Across New York State, fines and associated fees are relied upon by local governments as a source of local revenue. Decreased aid from the state coupled with the 2-percent property tax cap, which was enacted in 2011 and restricts annual property tax increases to the lesser of 2-percent or the rate of inflation, has led to decreased revenues for local jurisdictions. To make up for budget shortfalls - which have worsened during COVID-19 - local governments may be tempted to raise additional revenue through fines [...]

Strengthen Medicaid and Protect Health Coverage for New Yorkers

May 20, 2020 This time last year, New York celebrated its lowest rate of residents without health insurance to date at 5 percent. A historic low that is a continuation of nearly a decade of decline in people who lack health insurance, this record-breaking success set New York apart from the national trend of rising uninsured rates. The public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens past success in reducing the rate of the uninsured in New York State. We must strengthen [...]

Unemployment Insurance Taxes Paid for Undocumented Workers in NYS

May 14, 2020 In the midst of a pandemic, there has been a growing call for undocumented immigrants, who make up five percent of the New York State labor force, to be covered by some form of unemployment insurance. What is often overlooked in discussions of unemployment insurance is the extent to which undocumented immigrants are already part of paying into the existing system, even when they are excluded from collecting benefits. Undocumented immigrants face the same challenges as other workers. It does not serve [...]

New York’s Unemployment System Depends on Continued Federal Assistance

May 11, 2020 Following the Great Recession, New York's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund only achieved a positive fund balance for the first time in fiscal year 2016. On January 1, 2020, the balance stood at $2.65 billion, but the fund was nearing insolvency according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Since the COVID-19 pandemic mitigation began eight weeks ago, over 1.7 million New York residents have filed for unemployment, which is roughly 5 percent of the nation’s total filings and represents more [...]

Fines and Fees: Raising Revenue at the Community’s Expense

As New York State looks toward restarting the economy in the wake of COVID-19, a new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) warns local governments not to rush to build revenue through the use of fines and fees – a long-standing, inequitable source of funding primarily drawn from low-income communities and communities of color. Between 2010 and 2017, 31 city governments, out of 62, in New York State reported an increase in expected fine revenue in their annual budgets, with a median increase of [...]

FPI Comments on Federal Reserve Action

April 17, 2020 Recently, the Federal Reserve took a welcome step forward for states struggling in the wake of the pandemic by creating a new way to lend money directly to states and municipalities.  Through the Municipal Liquidity Facility, New York and other states struggling with a sudden drop-off in much-needed revenue can now access the funds needed to cover essential services. While this is helpful in the short-term, states will need to borrow until their revenues recover. And that would require the facility to be expanded: loan [...]

New York’s Essential Workers Overlooked, Underpaid, and Indispensable

The coronavirus crisis has put a new focus on “essential workers,”  people who are bringing deliveries to our homes, working in supermarkets and convenience stores, keeping the public transportation system functioning, providing social services and childcare, and working in the healthcare industry. These essential workers have always played a critical role in keeping our communities running. At a time when many streets are eerily empty, however, we can see all the more clearly who is still out there making sure people get food on the [...]

NY’s Best Prescription? An Accurate Census Count

While the coronavirus is upending our daily lives, we must not let this public health crisis derail our state’s census participation. New York must have an accurate count because it will affect our lives for the next 10 years - including the resources our state has to combat the next health threat or climate crisis. All New Yorkers should complete a census form - either by mail, phone, or online. More information on completing the census is available from the Census Bureau.  Learn more by [...]

FPI’s New Report Highlights the Unequal State of New York

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2019 Media Contact: communications@fiscalpolicy.org, 518-786-3156 The Unequal State of New York The Majority of Income is Captured by the Fewest New Yorkers Read the report: The Unequal State of New York click here. (Albany, NY) The Fiscal Policy Institute reports that New York State has the most unequal income distribution in the nation, with the fewest people capturing the greatest share. Not since the “Gilded Age” of the 1920s has our state seen such a vast divide between the highest- and [...]

Methodology for Public Charge Estimates

In Only the Wealthy Need Apply, the Fiscal Policy Institute estimated the fiscal and economic impacts of the Department of Homeland Security’s “public charge” rule. This 2019 paper updates an analysis that FPI first published in 2018. Presented here is the detailed methodology we used in making these estimates. Only the Wealthy Need Apply: The Chilling Effects of “Public Charge” is available at www.fiscalpolicy.org/publiccharge2019 Methodology available here.

Report: Farm Workers’ Overtime Pay Is Affordable and Long Overdue

May 28, 2019. Today the Fiscal Policy Institute released a new report “Farm Workers’ Overtime Pay is Affordable and Long Overdue” which looks at giving farm workers the same rights and protection as other workers, including overtime pay for long hours, would affect farms, farm workers, their local communities and the state. With the end of 2019 legislative session rapidly approaching, the Senate has conducted hearings on The Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act and attention is now shifting to the Assembly. California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Maryland already include overtime pay [...]

Report: Nearly Half of New York Renting Families Are Rent-Burdened

April 29, 2019. Families should pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent according to housing advocates. Many public agencies set their support levels to meet this standard. Unfortunately, we find that across New York State, and in some of its major cities, significant shares of families are paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent. This is especially true among families of color. Severe rent burdens can badly reduce families’ ability to pay for other important expenses, such as food or [...]

Reworking New York State’s Family Tax Credits

March 8, 2019. The human costs of child poverty are staggering. Experiencing poverty as a child – even for short stints – can impair brain development, physical and mental health, and academic achievement, and increase the possibility of child welfare involvement.  And the impacts can last a lifetime.  Childhood poverty is the single best predictor of adult poverty. Child poverty also imposes extraordinary economic costs to the state.  A report just issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that child poverty costs the nation [...]

Driving Together: Benefits of Allowing All New Yorkers to Apply for Licenses

February 15, 2019. Suddenly, with a new legislature in office, New York is poised to join 12 other states plus Puerto Rico and D.C. and allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.A report by the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) estimates that 265,000 undocumented immigrants statewide would obtain driver’s licenses, including 64,000 north of New York City and 51,000 on Long Island. FPI also estimates that $57 million in annual revenue and $26 million in one-time revenue would be generated from the purchase of driver’s [...]

Automatic Voter Registration: Good for Democracy and Sound Fiscal Sense

February 11, 2019. New York is in many ways thought of as a progressive state, but in terms of the basic democratic function of voting we are far behind most of the country. In voter registration, for instance, New York ranks 46th out of 50 states in share of citizens over 18 years old who are registered to vote. Automatic Voter Registration is a solution being currently considered that would leave far fewer people behind. As with any new proposal, it is worth examining the [...]

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