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News stories tagged with "poverty"

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz

Gillibrand wants food stamps, milk price reform in Farm Bill

Congress is back to work on a new five year Farm Bill. The Senate passed one last year, but the House of Representatives couldn't agree on the size of cuts to the food stamp program and other issues.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says preserving food stamps is "a moral issue." And she says there's a way to pay for them.  Go to full article
Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Gillibrand: minimum wage should be even higher

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is making the case that New York's proposed minimum wage increase to $9 an hour is actually not enough. She is co-sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage nationwide to $10.10 an hour.  Go to full article
A family at last Saturday's Idle No More march over the Cornwall bridge.  Photo by David Sommerstein.
A family at last Saturday's Idle No More march over the Cornwall bridge. Photo by David Sommerstein.

Big expectations for "Idle No More" meeting in Canada

First Nations chiefs are meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa today. The meeting is a response to months of protests by a grassroots aboriginal group called Idle No More.

The group is demanding the government address issues such as poverty, land claims, and profits from natural resources.

As Karen Kelly reports from Ottawa, it may be difficult for today's meeting to soothe decades of discontent.  Go to full article
Church and Community Program Director Catherine Matthews is pleased to have mayo to distribute. Photo: Julie Grant
Church and Community Program Director Catherine Matthews is pleased to have mayo to distribute. Photo: Julie Grant

Need increases at North Country food pantries

The number of people requesting help at North Country food pantries continues to rise. Many are still unable to find work, and more older people are struggling to pay their taxes. Pantries in the region say there's always been enough food for the people in need. But there's worry that leaders in Washington, D.C., will dramatically cut food stamps, and that means pantries will have to pick up the slack.  Go to full article
The new report finds New York's income disparity is caused in part by Wall Street's high salaries. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ensh/">Manu_H</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a><br />
The new report finds New York's income disparity is caused in part by Wall Street's high salaries. Photo: Manu_H, CC some rights reserved

Report finds growing income disparity in NY state

A new report from a union-funded think tank finds that New York has the greatest income disparity in the nation. The Fiscal Policy Institute says that trend is continuing, with the top one percent gaining more financial resources, while the middle class falls behind and the numbers of poor increase.  Go to full article
It actually works out to be an enormous savings to New York, to the tune of $2.3 billion per year.

New York expanding Medicaid, and expects to save billions

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Care Act just last month, including the individual mandate. But New York has been working to implement the law for more than a year. The state has already gotten $88 million from the federal government to be one of the first to create a health insurance exchange. Yesterday, we spoke with Danielle Holahan, the project director for New York's health insurance exchange planning.

Danielle Holahan described a website similar to Travelocity, where people will be able to shop for health insurance plans. She expects the cost of a policy to be lower than it is today, in part because of the individual mandate. She said, "The mandate, as research shows, has the effect of bringing healthier lives into the insurance market, and that, on average, brings premiums down. So we saw that premiums would come down for that reason. And then, as sort of a second help, we have the federal tax credits, that would offset the premiums and make it affordable for people. Certainly more than zero if they don't have coverage today, but it should be affordable and they'll be getting what we think is a pretty valuable benefit for it."

Another big piece of the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of Medicaid, the government health care system for people with low incomes. Medicaid is administered at the state level. The Affordable Care Act would have required states to expand it, so more people would qualify for coverage. But the Supreme Court ruled that states don't have to expand Medicaid. Some states, such as Florida, are saying they won't. But Holahan tells Julie Grant that New York is also ahead of the game on Medicaid, and it's going to be lucrative.  Go to full article

Time's running out on the old GED

39 million Americans, a fifth of the population, never completed high school, one of the factors used to measure literacy rates. Of those, only about 1% earn a GED certificate or the equivalent of a high school diploma each year. The test, which has been around since 1942, is poised to undergo major changes to prepare its recipients for a competitive workplace.

For Front and Center, Laurie Stern has this story from Minnesota.  Go to full article
Poverty and hunger are not crimes, so we shouldn’t treat the poor or the hungry as criminals. —Cuomo

NY drops fingerprinting requirement to get food stamps

Governor Cuomo announced Thursday that he's rescinding a state regulation that requires food stamp recipients be fingerprinted. As Karen DeWitt reports, the governor is saying the poor and hungry are not criminals, and shouldn't be treated that way.  Go to full article
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood

Volunteers fill gaps left by social service funding cuts

As local, state and federal governments are looking for ways to do more with less money, demand for aid and services to the poor is increasing.

That's creating some gaps between government-funded organizations' missions and their means.

In St. Lawrence County, volunteer organizations are stepping in to fill some of those gaps--
And as Nora Flaherty reports, they're doing it by being creative--and harnessing local resources.  Go to full article
Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly

Silver pushes for minimum wage hike, worries about pension changes

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is continuing to push for his bill to increase the state's minimum wage. The Speaker is also expressing reservations about Governor Cuomo's plan to offer an option of 401k-style retirement plans for future state workers. In Albany, Karen DeWitt has the details.  Go to full article

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