Rich Get Richer
overall economic growth in the past 20 years, the gap between
high and low-income families nationally is wider than ever.
And New York state takes first place, with the widest gap
between rich and poor in the nation.
to a report titled Pulling Apart: A State by State Analysis
of Income Trends, released on April 23 by the Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, the
richest 20 percent of families in New York state make 13 times
the amount than the poorest 20 percent—a gap that has grown
over the past 20 years.
compared information from the Census Bureau’s March Current
Population Survey to determine state-specific figures. Researchers
combined data from 1998, 1999 and 2000 to compare with data
from the late 1970s, adjusted for inflation.
showed that the average income of the poorest families in
New York state decreased by $790, from $13,430 annually to
$12,640. Meanwhile, the average income of the richest families
has increased by $108,110 from $158,430 to $266,530. Figures
are in constant 1999 dollars.
from all walks of life, from laborers to corporate executives,
contributed to a strong level of overall economic growth that
dominated much of the 1980s and 1990s,” said Elizabeth McNichol,
director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and
coauthor of the report. “It is a problem when everyone does
not share in the resulting prosperity. The United States was
built on the ideal that hard work should pay off. That individual
who contributes to the nation’s economic growth should reap
some of the benefits.”
to New York, other states that share wide gaps between high-
and low-income families are Louisiana, Texas, California,
Massachusetts, Tennessee and Kentucky. Meanwhile, the only
state in the nation where the gap has narrowed is Alaska.
The states with the lowest ratios are Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota,
South Dakota, Utah and Indiana.
of Albany dog owners have informally banded together under
the banner of the “Dog Owner’s Association” to express interest
in the city’s pending plan to open the first “Animal Park”
sometime this year. According to the city of Albany’s Web
site (www.albanyny.org), the city plans to construct a park
where “dog owners will be able to take advantage of a safe,
sanitary, well-lighted and hospitable location to let their
dogs run off-leash.”
park has been a long time coming for Albany; the city’s Common
Council has often complained that the city’s leash laws, which
state that dogs may be unleashed in city parks as long as
they are under an owner’s control, are too lax. The council
has considered everything from enforcing stricter leash laws,
requiring dogs to be on leashes at all times, to banning dogs
from public events to (finally) offering dog owners a specific
place where their companions can roam free and unfettered.
the Dog Owner’s Association supports the creation of the dog
park, it has petitioned City Clerk Nancy Anderson (who is
overseeing the dog park rules and guidelines) to let it know
when and if any revisions to the city’s current leash laws
may take place. So far, the association has nearly 50 signatures
on its petition.
past, it has been suggested by the Common Council that if
and when a dog park opens, the city should crack down on off-leash
dogs—which means that many residents who currently run their
dogs in parks near their homes (Washington Park, Lincoln Park,
Ridgefield Park and the Hudson-Jay Park, for example) would
have to trek their pets to whatever location the city selects
for a dog park. And according to information posted on the
city Web site, the location that has been selected is neither
central nor convenient to any residential Albany neighborhood:
“The park will be located at [the Department of General Services]
on Erie Boulevard,” the announcement states.
is no mention of whether a change to the city’s leash law
is pending, but the site promises that the city plans to “establish
a second park in the western part of the city” at some point
in the future. Some dog owners feel that Washington Park would
be an ideal location for another dog park, as it is already
used by a significant number of dog owners year round who
gather at a huge, open field which has been colloquially known
for years as “the Dog Field” by dog people and non-dog people
the city has yet to announce that the Dog Field will be off
limits to dogs any time in the near future, there is some
concern among dog owners that they could be booted from their
doggie recreation area of choice. An e-mail circulated in
March by a worried owner assessed the situation by stating:
“[Dog owners] most likely comprise the park’s largest group
of participants year round—not just during those pleasant
sun-filled months. Our voices should be counted. Our presence
at various hours in the park acts as a deterrent to the many
less-than- desirable activities that occur in and around the
park, and we should be viewed as an asset, not a liability.
So please let’s band together and address these issues collectively
and ask the Common Council and City Clerk’s office to respect
and appreciate our input to any possible legislation.”