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Disconnected Poor, Immigrant Benefit Use, Polling on Pre-K, Media & Workers, and Costly Subsidies

Disconnected Families: Some poor single mothers manage to find work after being on TANF or combine work and welfare to make ends meet.  However, a brief by the Brookings Center on Children and Families profiles the 40 to 45 percent of the TANF caseload who are long-term recipients and aren't working because they face multiple barriers to securing and keeping employment.  Yet, because of time limits imposed by the 1996 federal TANF law, many of those families have been terminated from the program, terminations that will only increase with new rules implementing changes in the law passed in 2006.  The brief advocates creation of new state programs to help these long-term disadvantages families outside the traditional TANF programs.

Immigrant Benefit Use: Immigrants living in New Mexico contribute significantly to the state's economy and receive very little in the way of government safety-net programs such as Social Security and Medicare, according to a new report by New Mexico Voices for Children. In fact, immigrants are represented in the state's labor force in higher percentages than are native-born New Mexicans, receive money from federal programs such as Medicare, unemployment insurance and other funds at half the rate of the native-born, and are less likely to seek emergency-room care.

Media & Workers: Critical issues of importance to working families are ignored by the mainstream media, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress, largely because the media systematically fails to even include the perspective of workers in their analysis.  On key economic issues, representatives of business are quoted or cited nearly two-and-a-half times Æ’ as frequently as are workers or their union representatives.

Polling on Pre-K: 7 in 10 voters want more federal support for state-funded Pre-K, according to a new national poll released by the organization Pre-K Now.  The same 7 in 10 voters want state and local governments to provide voluntary pre-k for all children, but a solid majority felt government overall was doing too little to expand pre-k opportunities.

Cities and Health Care: In a new report, America’s Health Care Crisis: Cities on the Front Lines, Families USA looks at the role cities play in organizing, funding and delivering health care services -- and how the rising costs and growing number of uninsured has hit municipal budgets hard.  The report surveys mayors across the country, who see health care reform as critical to both their residents and their own fiscal bottom line.

Costly Subsidies: In Take Your Poison: Hemlock Semiconductor Demands Costly New Subsidies from Michigan, Good Jobs First highlights the costs of a new 12-year tax credit for the firm which will cost the state $357 million, or an estimated $900,000 per job for the 400-500 jobs projected for Hemlock’s next expansion, a massive subsidy that will blow a hole in the state's budget.