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Report: More New Yorkers Are "Near Poor"

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-995650.mp3

New Paltz, NY – High unemployment rates... lack of economic opportunities... low wages... a new report finds poverty is spreading across New York State at an alarming rate. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute has released a report entitled "The State of Working New York, Part 2", which details income, wage and poverty trends that have resulted from the Great Recession of 2008 and 9. FPI's Deputy Director and Chief Economist James Parrott authored the paper, which reveals that the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are in trouble. Parrott agrees that, in line with the study's findings we could possibly be looking at the "near poor" becoming the new Middle Class.

Christy Steiner is with Family Promise of the Mid-Hudson Valley serving Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties - child poverty numbers among her concerns. The FPI study also finds that millions of New Yorkers lack health insurance - and food stamp usage is up by around 65%. Hunger Action Network of New York State Executive Director Mark Dunlea favors changing tax policy in New York State- and raising the minimum wage. FPI's James Parrott says 18 states have a higher minimum wage than New York. Statistics show that Ulster, Putnam, Seneca and Delaware counties have all seen increases of more than 200 percent in the amount of money in food stamps handed out since 2007.