New York Selected For National Online Food Stamp Program
Following nearly a year of advocacy by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and others, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday announced the selection of New York State to participate in a nationwide pilot program to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a.k.a as food stamps, participants to purchase their groceries online.
“New York State has always led the way when it comes to innovation in government, and this pilot program will put our state at the intersection of health, technology and business. Allowing consumers to use their SNAP benefits in the same way you would also use a credit or debit card to purchase groceries will lead to lower prices and greater options for consumers in every corner of this city and state,” said Diaz.
Diaz initially proposed such changes in his “State of the Borough” address in February 2016. In July 2016, Borough President Diaz participated in a conference on Capitol Hill to address the need for technological advancements for SNAP benefit users with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. The next month, the borough president authored a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging his department to select New York State for this pilot program.
As part of the pilot program, the USDA has selected two vendors—Amazon and FreshDirect—to serve customers in New York State.
Cuomo Unveils Enhanced Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday unveiled a new Enhanced Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit that will help more than 200,000 middle class families make their child care more affordable.
The Enhanced Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit would supplement the current New York State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and more than double the benefit for families earning between $60,000 and $150,000.
The state currently offers a fully refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which offers a maximum benefit of 110 percent of the federal credit for taxpayers with incomes below $25,000, and the rate phases down to a low of 20 percent of the federal credit for those with incomes of $65,000 or above. For tax year 2014, nearly 520,000 New York families received almost $189 million from this credit.
Under Cuomo’s proposal, 200,000 families earning between $50,000 and $150,000 would see their average benefit double, on average from $169 to $376. The total program cost would be $42 million. Families making less than $50,000 already receive a considerable benefit.
“Far too many parents have to sacrifice working to build their family’s financial future because affordable, high quality day care is financially out of reach,” Cuomo said. “This newly enhanced credit will make it easier for more New Yorkers to be able to secure day care for their children and able to enter or stay in the work force with peace of mind. With this proposal, we will be helping to build a stronger, better New York that truly lives up to its motto: Excelsior.”
Harris Holds Neighborhood Grants Info Session
Assemblymember Pamela Harris (Coney Island, Gravesend, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) announced yesterday that she is partnering with the Citizens Committee for New York City to host a free grant information session.
Through its Neighborhood Grants program, the committee awards micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups taking on community building projects throughout the city.
“We need to be constantly looking for innovative ways to help our community grow and prosper,” said Harris. “This grant program allows groups and organizations to work together and make our neighborhoods better and safer for everyone.”
Recent awards have helped residents organize and push for improved housing, set up school recycling drives, turn abandoned lots into community gardens and increase access to healthy food options in their neighborhoods.
The information session is slated for between 12 noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, 3001 W. 37th Street in Coney Island. If you are unable to attend, but would like to submit an application, please visit www.citizensnyc.org/grants/
Williams Office Gathering Spot For Marches On Washington
City Council Member Jumaane Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) and the Ernest Skinner Political Association are sponsoring buses to leave from Williams’ district office for two upcoming marches on Washington.
The two events are the National Action Network March On Washington slated for Saturday January 14 and The Women March On Washington slated for Saturday January 21.
Gathering to board the bus for the The National Action Network March on Washington will take place at 5 a.m., Jan. 14 in front of Williams’ district office, 4517 Avenue D in East Flatbush. For more information about march: http://nationalactionnetwork.
Gathering for the Women’s March on Washington is also slated for 5 a.m. in front of Williams’ district office, 4517 Avenue D in East Flatbush. There are 56 seats on this bus. Anyone interested should RSVP to Farah at [email protected]. Please RSVP by today, Jan. 6. There is quite a demand in the district for seating. Here is more information about march: https://www.womensmarch.com/.