A recent analysis by the Bloomberg Administration found that New York’s poverty rate held steady since 2000. That makes the Big Apple the only large U.S. city not to see a spike in that rate.
New York’s Center for Economic Opportunity released the survey last Thursday. It used U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 and 2012, and determined that the nation’s largest city had maintained a 21.2 percent poverty rate during the intervening 12 years.
It also found that poverty rates in the country’s 19 other largest cities increased, on average, by 36 percent. That’s just an average, however. Rates of increase ranged from 3 percent in El Paso, Tex., to 88 percent in Indianapolis.
That’s right: while we’ve been focusing on bright shiny objects like cricket fields and Super Bowls, we’ve had an 88 percent increase in poverty.
If Mayor Ballard has addressed this issue, I haven’t heard about it.
As a friend of mine recently pointed out, Ballard rarely bothers to visit the Statehouse. He was willing to lobby for elimination of the at-large council seats, a partisan move that increased his political power, but he’s been conspicuously absent on a whole range of issues having a direct impact on the economic well-being of Marion County residents. His support for public transportation was both tepid and a long time coming, despite the fact that–among other things–transportation is desperately needed to improve poor folks’ access to employment opportunities. He’s said nothing about the importance of expanding Medicaid. Yet lack of access to medical insurance is a major cause of poverty, and the recent hospital layoffs that increase local unemployment are a direct result of Pence’s unconscionable refusal to expand Indiana’s Medicaid program.
Ballard has also said nothing about the recent, draconian cuts to the Food Stamp program despite the fact that the economic impact of Food Stamp dollars flowing to Marion County is equivalent to holding a Super Bowl every four months.
I guess we know where his priorities lie.