Earned Income Tax Credit

In some states, working poor could pay more taxes, By Pam Fessler, April 11, 2011, National Public Radio: “Several states want to scale back or eliminate a tax credit for the working poor, as they try to balance their budgets. Anti-poverty groups say some of these same states also want to cut taxes for businesses. Governors say they’re trying to balance the need to promote jobs with deficit reduction. But advocates say the poor are being asked to bear an unfair share of the burden. The tax break is called an earned income tax credit, or EITC. About half the states offer residents an EITC on top of a similar credit available from the federal government…”

Health Coverage for the Poor

  • GOP governors say they have a recipe for recovery, By Noam N. Levey, April 12, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “In their drive to cut medical assistance to the poor while pushing tax breaks benefiting the affluent, congressional Republicans are following the lead of a group of governors who have championed this approach to balance state budgets. The strategy – reprising the supply-side economics of the Ronald Reagan era – has caught on with conservatives who say that lowering taxes for corporations and wealthy taxpayers will boost state economies. But the moves are sparking a debate in capitols from Arizona to Wisconsin to Maine over who is being asked to sacrifice and whether the strategy will produce more jobs…”
  • Lawsuit filed over Basic Health cuts to poor people, By Vanessa Ho, April 8, 2011, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “A potential class-action lawsuit has been filed against Washington over budget cuts to Basic Health, a month after the state booted 17,000 people off the subsidized health-care program to save money. In reducing its rolls, the Health Care Authority deemed certain categories of people as ineligible, including kids, seniors, undocumented U.S. residents and people who made too much money. Also disqualified were legal immigrants who hadn’t lived in the country for at least five years. The complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, accuses the state of violating the Constitution’s ‘Equal Protection Clause,’ by disqualifying some legal immigrants, while still serving other legal immigrants and citizens…”

Farmers’ Markets and Urban Farming

  • Obstacles seen in poor areas for new farmers’ markets, By Diane Cardwell, April 11, 2011, New York Times: “For years, the Bloomberg administration has labored to improve the eating habits of New Yorkers, banning trans fats from restaurants, urging food purveyors to use less salt and creating special zoning to encourage fresh-food supermarkets to open in produce-poor neighborhoods. But the city still puts roadblocks in the way of community groups seeking to open farmers’ markets in low-income neighborhoods, says a report to be released on Tuesday by the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer. Those efforts face excessive fees, confusing rules and a lack of coordination among agencies, the report says…”
  • Coming to a vacant lot near you, the neighborhood farm, By Madeleine Baran, April 7, 2011, Minnesota Public Radio: “Farmers looking for land to grow food to sell may have another option. A plan to expand urban agriculture in Minneapolis passed the city’s zoning and planning committee on Thursday, opening the door for farmers to turn vacant lots into commercial farms. Minneapolis is already home to community gardens and farmers markets, but the city lacked definitions or regulations of land used to grow and sell food. Urban agriculture supporters said that made it impossible to get approval for innovative farming projects. Similar plans have been adopted in Cleveland, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, Oakland and Detroit…”