The Public Assistance Caseload: More Job Training, Fewer Punitive Actions Under the de Blasio Administration?

February 12th, 2015

In October 2014, the city’s Human Resources Administration announced a new employment plan for public assistance recipients. The plan, which was already being phased in before the formal announcement, makes the agency’s employment programs less punitive and puts more emphasis on education and training. Some of the changes can already be seen by comparing participation data from December 2013 with December 2014.

Share of Caseload in Various Work Participation and Preparation Classifications

  • The number cash assistance cases under or facing sanctions for violating the employment requirements fell from 19,632 (19.6 percent of all cases) to 14,473 (13.6 percent).
  • Cases with the household head in an education, training ,or job search program increased from 3,347 (3.3 percent) to 5,485 (5.1 percent).
  • The number of cases classified as temporarily unengageable jumped from 9,119 (9.1 percent) to 19,823 (18.6 percent), primarily due to a big increase in the number of cases being evaluated for WeCARE, a program designed to help clients overcome medical and/or mental health barriers to employment.
  • The number participants in the long controversial Work Experience Program, which requires participants to work for their cash and food stamp benefits, also decreased somewhat from 10,661 (10.6 percent) to 9,786 (9.2 percent). The plan calls for gradually phasing out this program.

Prepared by Paul Lopatto
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Human Resources Administration, Weekly Caseload Engagement Status Reports for January 5, 2014 and January 4, 2015
NOTES: The numbers exclude cases categorized as indefinitely unengageable including child only cases, and those in which the household head is receiving Supplemental Security Income, is age 60 or over, or is receiving services from the HIV/AIDS Services Administration. They also exclude a small number of cases categorized as unengaged. Cases are classified by their primary activity.

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How Much Would the City’s Annual Contribution Be Today If Aid for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Projects Had Kept Pace with Inflation?

January 22nd, 2015

The city makes an annual payment to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to support the authority’s capital program. NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign asked IBO to review the annual contributions to see if they have kept pace with inflation.

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• The city’s contribution to the MTA’s first five-year capital plan (1982-1986) averaged $136 million a year. In nominal terms, the city’s contribution was highest during the 1987-1991 and 1992-1999 plans and has remained fairly constant at around $100 million per year since 2000.
• If the city had instead decided to keep its contribution at the 1982-1986 level in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the contribution would have reached $363 million in 2014, and provide more than $1.8 billion for the proposed 2015-2019 capital plan.

• The city’s contribution to the MTA’s 1982-1986 capital plan averaged 1.2 percent of total city-funded expenses over the five-year period. Over time the city’s contribution as a share of total city-funded expenses has declined dramatically. The city’s contribution to the MTA capital plan in 2010-2014 averaged just 0.2 percent of total city-funded expenses a year.

New York City and state also provide indirect support to the capital program through dedicated tax revenue—in most cases, revenues predominately collected in the 12-county MTA region—that flow into the MTA’s operating budget. These revenues, which have grown substantially over the past three decades, are used to pay debt service on MTA bonds that finance capital projects as well as the operating expenses of the transit system. IBO estimates that New York City residents alone generated around $3.1 billion in city and state tax revenue for the MTA in 2014, compared with just $235 million in 1983.

Prepared by Alan Treffeisen
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Moody’s Analytics, and the New York City Comptroller’s Office
NOTES: Inflation measured by the local government GDP deflator for the New York City metropolitan region. IBO compares the city’s contribution to the MTA on a calendar year basis to the city’s fiscal year expenditures.

 

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How Many Students Can Enter a Gifted & Talented Program in New York City?

December 18th, 2014

In the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 36,000 students took the test to determine their eligibility for a seat in a New York City public school Gifted & Talented program for the 2014-2015 school year. The test is grade-specific and any student entering grades K through 3 can potentially take it.

The Department of Education defines the criteria for acceptance to a Gifted & Talented, or G&T, program. Students must take two tests measuring their verbal and nonverbal skills. The scores of these tests are combined to find a single rank for the student based on their age and national norms. Students can apply to a district-level G&T program if they rank above the 90th percentile, and they can apply to any of the five citywide G&T programs if they rank above the 97th percentile. Students receive offers based on their ranked scores and their school preferences.

  • Roughly 5,400 incoming kindergarteners who took the G&T test in school year 2013-2014 (about 40 percent of the test-takers) surpassed the 90th percentile, making them eligible to apply for a G&T program—1,500 of them achieved the highest score.
  • But the school system had G&T program seats for less than half of the qualifying kindergarteners, only a total of 2,200 seats were available across the city. This included 273 seats in the five most selective citywide programs.
  • This gap between the number of students meeting the official criteria and the spots available has meant that in recent years most of the G&T programs can only accommodate students ranking closest to the 99th percentile.

Prepared by Diana Zamora Bonnet
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Department of Education

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How Has the City’s Budget for Public Education Changed Since 2000?

December 10th, 2014

  • Both total spending on public education and spending on Department of Education public school operations grew steadily from 2000-2010.
  • Spending on Department of Education operations has declined since then, while funding for charter schools and pass-through payments to nonpublic schools was greater in 2014 than in 2010.
  • Pension costs, payments to special education providers, and charter schools have been the major drivers of spending outside Department of Education public school operations.

The rise in per pupil spending on public education, including charter and nonpublic schools, was driven by growth in city funds.
State-funded per pupil spending increased steadily from 2004 until declining in 2009 with the onset of the recession.
Federal funds were largely flat on a per pupil basis except for the years the city received money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more historical information dating to 1990 on school funding and spending, see IBO’s fiscal history table.

Prepared by Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: New York City Comptroller Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

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Did the Main Reasons Families Were Found Eligible for the City’s Homeless Shelters in 2002-2012 Vary Depending Upon the Type of Housing They Previously Had?

December 2nd, 2014

Over the years 2002-2012, about 60 percent of the more than 75,000 homeless families with children entering the city’s shelter system had either a building with rent regulated apartments (43 percent) or a New York City Housing Authority development (16 percent) listed as their last address prior to shelter. The other families came from unregulated private housing (39 percent) or specialized facilities (2 percent), including residential rehabilitation centers. There was some variation in the leading reasons families were approved for shelter that depended upon which type of housing families last lived in.

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  • Of the more than 32,000 family shelter entrants in 2002-2012 who previously lived in buildings containing rent-regulated units, nearly a third were found eligible because of eviction. Likewise, just over a third of the nearly 30,000 families that entered the shelters from unregulated private housing were also found eligible due to eviction.
  • Overcrowding was the second most common reason families last living in rent-regulated housing were found eligible for shelter. For those families coming from unregulated private housing, domestic violence edged out overcrowding as the second most frequent reason for shelter eligibility.
  • For the more than 12,000 family shelter entries that had public housing as their most recent address, the most frequent reason they were found eligible for shelter was overcrowding, closely followed by domestic violence, the second most common reason.

For more details on the living situations of families before entering the shelter system, see IBO’s recent report: “The Rising Number of Homeless Families in NYC, 2002-2012: A Look at Why Families Were Granted Shelter, the Housing They Had Lived in & Where They Came From.

 New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data provided by Department of Homeless Services, New York City Housing Authority, Department of Finance, and the New York
State Division of Homes and Community Renewal
NOTE: IBO was able to match prior address data for 79 percent of the 95,906 shelter entry records during the 2002-2012 study period. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

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Are New York City’s Part-Time, Low-Income Workers More Reliant On Medicaid than Similar Workers in Other Parts of the State?

November 6th, 2014

More than half (51.3 percent) of the state’s lowest income part-time workers—those with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level—resided in New York City in 2012.

  • A greater reliance on Medicaid among New York City’s lowest income part-time workers may be linked to their lower rate of enrollment in employer-sponsored health insurance compared with the rest of the state.
  • A smaller share of low-income, part-time workers was uninsured in the city than in the downstate suburbs. But an even smaller share of these workers was uninsured upstate, where the rate of enrollment in employer-sponsored health insurance was highest in the state.

For more details on regional differences in health insurance coverage across New York State, see IBO’s recent report “Medicaid, Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance & the Uninsured in New York: Regional Differences in Health Insurance Coverage.”

New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample 2012
NOTES: Percentages do not sum to 100. Direct purchase insurance and Medicare are excluded, and individuals may have both employer-sponsored health insurance and Medicaid. The federal poverty level for a family of four in 2012 was about $23,500.

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Has the Long-Term Increase in Food Stamp Usage Finally Come to an End?

October 8th, 2014

 

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  • From June 2006 through June 2013, the number of New York City residents receiving food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) increased by 71.1 percent, from 1.1 million to 1.9 million. From June 2013 through June 2014, however, the number of recipients fell by 118,000, or 6.3 percent.
  • Recent decreases in the number of food stamp recipients likely reflect improvements in the local labor market.
    Nationwide, over the same June 2013-June 2014 period, the number of individuals receiving food stamps fell by a more modest 2.6 percent.
  • As a result of the decreased caseload as well as federal reductions in per family grant payments beginning in November 2013, total food stamp grants to city residents decreased by $244 million, or 6.9 percent, from fiscal year 2013 to 2014.

 

Prepared by Paul Lopatto
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data from the New York City Human Resources Administration, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and the United States Department of Agriculture

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Is There Another Way to Tally City Budget Surpluses?

September 16th, 2014

The surplus as reported in the city’s budget does not reflect all the uses of funds that could be counted as part of a year’s surplus. These uncounted uses include the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust and the setting aside of funds needed to pay principal and interest on outstanding bonds in advance of when payments are due, also known as debt defeasance.

  • In 5 of the past 10 years, including fiscal year 2014, the city has had budget surpluses higher than reported.
  • Over the 10-year period, total surpluses, including funds transferred to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust or set aside for debt defeasance, have ranged from as low as $2.5 billion in 2012 to a high of $7.5 billion in 2007.
  • In addition to the reported surplus of $4.7 billion in 2007, an additional $2.8 billion was used for the defeasance of outstanding debt and the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust.

Prepared by Frank Posillico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Adopted 2015 Financial Plan
NOTES: Debt defeasance includes General Obligation, Transitional Finance Authority, and Jay Street Development Corporation debt service. The surplus for 2014 is projected.

 

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The City’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan for Public Schools: How Many New Seats & When Will They Be Ready?

August 26th, 2014

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Timeline for Design Start and Estimated

Completion of New Capacity Seats

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  • Under the recently adopted fiscal year 2015-2019 capital plan for schools, 62 percent of the 32,560 new seats will be completed within the five-year plan period, including projects that had been funded for design but not construction under the previous plan. Another 21 percent of the seats are expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Including seats scheduled for completion after 2019-2020, design will begin for 79 percent of the new seats during the five-year plan period. Design for most of the other seats began during the preceding plan.
  • An average of 5,907 seats is expected to be completed each year from 2017-2018 through 2021-2022; over 95 percent of the new seats will be available by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • The period from design to completion is typically expected to take from three to four years.

Prepared by Sarita Subramanian
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data

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When New Yorkers Move Out of New York City Where Do They Go?

July 21st, 2014

Destinations of Households Moving from New York City in 2012
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Click on a state to see number and percent of households moving to that state.

Alaska 0.1% and Hawaii 0.2% of moving households

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  • Twenty-one percent of the households that moved out of New York City in 2012 moved within New York State—either to the city’s suburbs or further upstate. And almost 42 percent of high-income households moving out of New York City moved within the state in 2012.
  • In second place was New Jersey—the destination of just over 13 percent of households moving out of New York City with incomes less than $500,000 and 22 percent of households with incomes over $500,000 in 2012.
  • Florida was the destination of more than 10 percent of the households moving out of New York City in 2012, making it the third most popular destination. Given the state’s popularity among retirees, it is perhaps unsurprising that the share of high-income households relocating to Florida was relatively small—just 2 percent of those who moved in 2012.
  • High-income New Yorkers were no more or less likely to move than other households in 2012. The share of high-income households that moved, 1.8 percent, was just equal to the share of city households with high incomes.
  • The destinations of households moving out of New York City with incomes under $500,000 looked very similar when comparing 2008 and 2012. But the destination of high-income households looked quite different. In 2012, a higher proportion of moving households stayed relatively close to the city—New York, New Jersey and Connecticut—compared with 2008.

Prepared by Julie Anna M. Golebiewski
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: 2008 and 2012 three-year Public Use Microdata Sample data from the U.S. Census Bureau
NOTE: 2008 is a weighted sample of data from 2006 through 2008. Similalry, 2012 covers 2010 through 2012. Only households moving within the U.S. are shown.

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