Vermont gets an ‘A’ for financial security of families

first_imgIndividuals and families in Arizona, South Carolina and the Delta states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas lag behind the rest of the country in key aspects related to their financial stability, including measures of net worth, homeownership and housing affordability, business ownership, health insurance coverage and academic achievement. These states received an overall grade of “F” on the 2009-2010Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, which rates states not only on poverty and job figures, but also on a broad set of categories and measures related to sustained prosperity. The Scorecard was released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national economic nonprofit.CFED’s Assets & Opportunity Scorecard — online at scorecard.cfed.org — measures the financial security of families in the United States by looking at the whole picture of asset ownership and protecting against financial setbacks. The Scorecard ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 58 performance measures in the areas of Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. In addition, the Scorecard also assesses states on the strength of its policies to help individuals and families build financial security.”As the country recovers from this recession and tries to build a more durable and robust economy, decision makers need to look at a broad picture of where Americans stand, and what policies are in place to address economic vulnerabilities. The Scorecard provides that perspective,” said CFED President Andrea Levere. Levere also pointed out that every state has weak areas, and that even the states that received “F” grades perform well in some categories.Nationally, the Scorecard notes that even before the current recession, economic vulnerability was increasing, especially among low- and middle-income families. Among the findings:While U.S. households overall registered a 27% increase in net worth between 2004 and 2006, median net worth fell during that period for the 40% of U.S. households earning less than $37,000 a year.The number of individuals with employer-provided health insurance fell sharply, to 60.9% from 63.2%, leaving more Americans vulnerable and financially unprepared for health emergencies.Between 2006 and 2008, median amount of revolving debt, including credit card debt, rose 64% from $1,805 to $2,960.While more than one in eight households live below the federal income poverty line, nearly double that amount (22.5%) are asset poor, meaning they have insufficient assets to stay out of poverty for three months in the event of job loss. More than 14% of American households live in extreme asset poverty, meaning they have zero or negative net worth.For every dollar in wealth held by white households, African-American households have 10 cents and Latino households have 15 cents.The national leaders on the 2009-2010 Scorecard — those states that earned an overall “A” in performance measures — were Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Grades and detailed data for all states is available at scorecard.cfed.org.By comparing the states, the Scorecard not only highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each state, but it also exposes the wide differences between states on a number of items directly tied to financial prosperity. Some of the findings include:More than 22% of jobs in this country are in occupations that pay a median wage that is insufficient to raise the earner’s household above the poverty line. In West Virginia, 38.5% of jobs are low-wage. Washington, D.C. has the lowest percentage of low-wage jobs at 7.2%.The highest homeownership rate is in Minnesota (nearly 75%) while New York has the lowest homeownership rate at 53%.The average home in Kansas costs about twice the median income of a Kansan; in Massachusetts, the average home runs six times the state’s median income.89.6% of employers in Hawaii offer health care benefits to their employees compared with only 40.1% of those in Montana.More than 91% of the people in Massachusetts have health insurance while only 72.5% of Texans are insured.The Scorecard includes a detailed look of state-to-state information on 12 policy priorities that can help residents build and protect assets. Information on each of these policies — which range from first-time homebuyer assistance and payday lending protections to college savings incentives and access to health insurance — is available atscorecard.cfed.org. While every state has enacted at least a handful of these policies, the Scorecard’s assessment of these policies shows there is significant room for improvement.”These policy priorities are not radical ideas, but things that many states are trying right now,” Levere said. “But when we look at the funding, the scope of their efforts and the enforcement of regulations, we find that in most cases states haven’t been putting a very strong commitment into their efforts.”As part of its Scorecard work, CFED has formed partnerships with advocacy organizations in 25 states to utilize theScorecard to educate policy makers and the public on policies that can help Americans build and protect assets and financial security, and to improve policies at the state level.CFED expands economic opportunity by helping Americans and their children build assets, save for the future, start and grow businesses, pursue education and become homeowners. We identify, refine and help realize good ideas and develop partnerships to promote lasting change. We bring together community practice, public policy and private markets in new and effective ways to achieve greater economic impact. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, DC; Durham, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California.To stay up-to-date on the latest news from CFED, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CFEDNews(link is external).To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/cfed/39626/(link is external)(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090921/NY78564(link is external) )Source: CFED. WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2009 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

Mexico gunmen abandon two trucks with 35 bodies inside

first_img Share Share NewsRegional Mexico gunmen abandon two trucks with 35 bodies inside by: – September 21, 2011 Share Tweetcenter_img 7 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Officials suspect the killings stemmed from drug gang rivalryGunmen blocked a busy road in the Mexican state of Veracruz, abandoning two trucks with 35 bodies inside as horrified motorists looked on. Terrified witnesses sent messages on Twitter as they saw the bodies being left at an underpass in Boca del Rio. Some of the victims had their hands tied and showed signs of having been tortured, reports said. Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, has seen a spike in drug-related violence in recent months. On Tuesday afternoon, people began to tweet that men wearing military-style uniforms were blocking the underpass near a big shopping centre, pointing their guns at motorists and dumping the bodies.“They don’t seem to be soldiers or police,” a tweet read, according to Associated Press. Another said: “Don’t go through that area, there is danger.”Strategic portVeracruz Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar said the corpses – 23 men and 12 women – were found in two vehicles. Of the seven victims so far identified, all had criminal records, he said.“We have begun the corresponding investigations and have identified some of the bodies and have confirmed that they all had prior criminal records and were involved with organised crime, like kidnapping, extortion, homicide, among other crimes.”Mr Escobar added: “We have never seen a situation like this before.” On Monday, 32 prisoners escaped from three jails in Veracruz, but Mr Escobar said there was no indication that any of the inmates were among those killed.Local media reported that some had been found with their hands bound and appeared to have been tortured.Veracruz had been spared much of the drug-related crime that has afflicted other regions of Mexico, but has recently witnessed an escalation of violence.The upsurge has been blamed on a struggle between the Zetas and its rivals in the Gulf Cartel for control of drug smuggling routes. Security expert Alberto Islas said drug gangs were looking to gain control of the area as they broadened their global reach.“Veracruz is an important strategic port. That has always been true for trade and commerce, but it’s now also true for drug exports,” Mr Islas told Reuters news agency.More than 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drugs cartels in 2006.BBC Newslast_img read more

Scattered showers and possible storms in store for today

first_imgYou might want to keep your umbrellas handy today.Meteorologist are predicting a 60% chance of late afternoon and evening storms due to tropical moisture that is moving in from the southwest.Some storms can contain torrential downpours, frequent lightning, strong wind gusts and even small hail as they continue moving east.Rain chances will decrease quickly, however, during the evening hours.Monday’ s high is predicted at 87 degrees with a low of 79 in the evening hours.Tuesday will likely bring more rain with forecasters protecting a 70% chance of afternoon storms.Tuesday’s high is predicted at 87 degrees with a low of 71.last_img

Black Spikers beat Burkina Faso

first_imgThe national women’s volleyball team, the Black Spikers, started the first phase of the 2014 World Cup with brilliant tactical skills to beat host country, Burkina Faso by three straight sets in their first match Wednesday.The president of the Ghana Volleyball Association, Mr Paul Atchoe, said the national volleyball team would be granted participation in the sub-zone stage if they are able to beat Cote d’Ivoire in the next match.According to him, the performance of the women’s team against Burkina Faso was very promising anad there is no doubt that the trophy would be bestowed on the national volleyball team at the end of the World Cup competition.The national volleyball team left Accra last Monday to participate in the first phase of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.last_img