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Mayor Announces Cuts in Anti-Poverty Initiative

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg says he's cutting six programs, and keeping 11 others, in his anti-poverty initiative. In a speech before the Center for American Progress in Washington, the mayor says the programs being cut -- including a literacy program for returning inmates, and a program to boost parental involvement of absent fathers -- weren't working.

BLOOMBERG: In both these cases, the fact that we're defunding these initiatives doesn't mean we're giving up on these groups. Quite the opposite. It means we intend to help them in ways that are effective.

The mayor says it's rare for government to admit a program isn't working, and even rarer to eliminate it. The six programs cost $3 million a year. As for the 11 programs the mayor says are successful or promising, one of them is the controversial program that pays low-income families for good behaviors, such as high school attendance and regular doctor checkups. A preliminary study found $6.6 million have been handed out so far. Eighty percent of the program's 2,400 participants are considered "fully engaged" in the initiative.

The mayor is lobbying Washington to create an urban innovation fund to fight poverty in big cities.

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