City Council: Beware of Nanny Agencies

Daily Intelligencer • April 24, 2007

It’s nerve-racking enough to find a nanny in this city — well, at least so we’re told — and now it seems you can’t even trust the agencies that are supposed to help ease the process. The City Council released a study last week showing that about half the nanny agencies surveyed break the law: A four-month survey of 37 out of the city’s 52 nanny agencies (as well as interviews with a handful of nannies) turned up infractions running from the bureaucratic (leaving license numbers off public advertisements) to the dubious (overcharging both parents and nannies for services; operating without a license).

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State Hits Record Welfare Low — With a Catch

Daily Intelligencer • April 18, 2007

New York State has a new record-low welfare enrollment. There were 541,503 on the dole at the end of February, the lowest number since 1963, as state welfare officials announced neatly in sync with tax day. While the city has been posting similar trends for the last several years, this marks the state’s first big milestone. The state secret? In addition to benefiting from welfare shrinkage in the five boroughs — the city makes up the bulk of the state’s welfare cases — state officials are pointing to $665 million paid out via the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which is available to working poor filing federal or state taxes, plus a new state credit for low-income, non-custodial parents up-to-date on child support.

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Fancy Produce in Every Pot!

Daily Intelligencer • April 2, 2007

The Alice Watersization of New York cuisine is continuing apace, and now it’s spreading to decidedly un-haute cuisine. Now that the budget is done, Albany leaders are finalizing a deal to give New York its first statewide Food Policy Council, charged with spreading the local-and-organic movement to corner bodegas and other places where lower-income New Yorkers shop. A Friday announcement by state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker explained that the new body will coordinate the mind-numbing minutiae involved in favorite sustainable-food efforts like getting New York State apples to the neighborhood deli and ensuring that community-supported agriculture-buying clubs are affordable to the poor.

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Bloomberg Announces $150M Plan to Help Poor

Daily Intelligencer • Dec. 18, 2006

They say New York is just for the rich these days, but today one of its richest — Mike Bloomberg — unveiled a plan to help those who aren’t. His Commission on Economic Opportunity unveiled its anti-poverty strategy, and, at a ceremony at the stalwart Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, the mayor pledged a $150 million annual commitment to fund it, including $25 million to be raised from private foundations. That chunk of change will go first into an Innovation Fund, which will oversee the budget and — this is a first, folks — measure programs’ success at actually alleviating poverty.

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