As the April 1 deadline looms for New York State to approve its Fiscal 2020 budget, The New York Community Trust and its partners are urging Governor Cuomo to join the legislature and commit $40 million for Census funding to support community-based organizations that are working to ensure an accurate count.
This is a smart investment: An undercount in New York would mean the loss of billions of dollars each year over the next decade in federal aid provided through programs that are apportioned and distributed to states and localities. New York’s congressional representation could also shrink from 27 to 25 seats.
Because of these threats, The Trust and other foundation partners sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo in January requesting up to $60 million to help ensure that each and every New Yorker is properly counted.
While the Governor’s office did not include any funding for the Census in its proposed 2020 budget, the New York State Senate and Assembly both included $40 million for Census funding in their respective budgets.
“Our work on the 2010 Census shows that concentrated outreach is necessary in communities that are typically undercounted,” said Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust. “It’s up to the Governor to make sure New Yorkers don’t get left behind. Now is the time to invest in efforts to make sure every one of us is counted.”
In 2018, The New York Community Trust and other foundation partners across the state created the New York State Census Equity Fund to raise and direct more than $3 million to ensure New York’s hardest to count populations are properly represented. The foundations are also working closely with local and state government entities to coordinate activities.
But even with these investments, the need is great.
A number of other states are investing significant resources in Census activities. California, for instance, has appropriated more than $90 million for its state Census program and Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed an additional $54 million in funding.
The expected April 1 decision on the 2020 New York State budget falls on the same day as a planned Census Day of Action — a national series of events to highlight the importance of the 2020 Census.
Government agencies, nonprofits, and the business community are organizing a variety of events throughout New York City and across the state. The New York State Census Equity Fund will also release a short video via social media featuring New York residents emphasizing the importance of being counted.