125 North Fulton St. Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-4611
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Living Wage 2013 Notes

2013 Living Wage Study Notes

These notes reflect the sources from which the data used in the 2013 Living Wage Study was selected. Whenever possible, the most up-to-date publications with the most local data were used. All percentage increases/decreases marked in parenthesis indicate the change from the same numbers used or obtained in the 2011 Living Wage Study for comparative purposes.

Rent:
$836.00/month One-Bedroom x 12 months = $10,032/year (+3.08%)
Other options:
Efficiency: $682 (-13.56%)
2BR: $1,001 (+5.37%)
3BR: $1,387 (+20.61%)
4BR: $1,392 (+16.78%)

Sources:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Final FY 2013 Fair Market Rent Documentation System, http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/fmr/fmrs/docsys.html&data=fmr13 (Select NY State Tompkins County)

Food:
$218.50/month x 12 months = $2,622/year (+7.32%)
Low-cost Official USDA Food Plan: Average of male and female ages 19-50
Monthly cost of food on low-cost plan:
Men 19-50 years: $234 (+7.39%)
Women 19-50 years: $203 (+7.24%)
Average of men and women: $218.50 (+7.32%)

Sources: 
Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, June 2012 (June statistics are used to represent the annual average),
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofFoodJun2012.pdf

Transportation:
$168.86 + $17.45 + $2.58 + $0.12 + $0 = $189.01/month x 12 months = $2268.12/year (+5.57%)

Population of Tompkins County: 101,723 (US Census Bureau 2011)
Drive Alone 56.6%, Carpool 11.7%, Public Transportation 5.9%, Bike, 1.5%, Walk 16.4%, Work at home 6.3%, Other 1%

Drive Alone = $3,580/12 x 0.566 = $168.86/month
Cost of driving alone, according to BLS Customer Expenditure Survey 2011 (second 20%) = $1,981 (gasoline/motor oil up 32.24%) + $1,599 (other expenses, including insurance, maintenance and repairs, vehicle finance charges, licenses, up 14.58%) = $3,580/year 

Carpool = $1790/12 x 0.117 = $17.45/month 
Share the cost of driving alone – divide by 2.

Public Transportation $456/12 x 0.068 = $2.58/month
Cost of public transportation (annual bus pass on TCAT) = $450 (Zone 1) or $600 (Zone 2)
Per TCAT, 95.9 buy Zone 1, 4.1% Zone 2.
Average cost of TCAT bus pass = ($450 x 95.9%=$431.55 + $600 x 4.1%= $24.60 = $456.15)

Bike $92.59/12 x 0.015 = $0.12/month 
Cost of a bike $50 ($250 over 5 years) + $42.59 annual maintenance = $92.23
Annual maintenance such as tuning, changing of tires, brakes and tubes.

Cost of maintenance of existing bicycle based on Living Wage Study 2002 (obtained from Claritas Consumer Spending Patterns data) = $33/year, adjusted for inflation = $42.59/year

Walking 16.4% + Work at home 6.3% + Others (including taxi and motorcycle) 1%
These categories are collectively assumed to have none or very little cost.

Sources:
Commuting to Work (Ages 16+) study, prepared by Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, 
http://www.tompkins-co.org/itctc/Statistics/Journey-to-Work/Easy%20to%20read%20chartsDec2011/JTW_by_Municipality2011ACS_12_14.pdf

Consumer Expenditures Survey 2011 (second 20%), http://www.bls.gov/cex/2011/Standard/quintile.pdf
Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices, US Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_a_epm0_pte_dpgal_a.htm
References:
Tompkins County, NY QuickFacts, US Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36109.html
Ithaca, NY Economy at a Glance, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ny_ithaca_msa.htm
Interlocking Pieces: Housing, Transportation, and Jobs (2004), from Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan, prepared by Tompkins County Planning Department, http://www.tompkins-co.org/planning/compplan/4%20housing_trans_jobs.pdf

Journey to Work study, prepared by Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, http://www.tompkins-co.org/itctc/Statistics/Journey-to-Work/Easy%20to%20read%20chartsDec2011/JTW_by_Municipality2011ACS_12_14.pdf

Communication:
($35.74+$27.50)/month = $63.24/month
$63.24/month x 12 months = $758.88/year (+5.42%)

Internet
Access to the internet has become an indispensible part of life in the 21st century. These no-contract internet plans have been selected from Verizon and Time Warner Cable for their comparative speeds (download speed: 15 Mbps; upload speed: 1 Mbps) that would suffice for both personal communication and entertainment purposes. Both service providers have been chosen because of the difference in service availability throughout Tompkins County; depending on their geographical location, some households might not be able to subscribe to one or the other service provider. Taxes and fees are assumed to be 10% of cost before tax.

Verizon Better Internet = $29.99 + taxes and fees = $32.99/month
Time Warner Cable Standard Internet = $34.99 + taxes and fees = $38.49/month
Average = ($32.99 + $38.49)/2 = $35.74/month

Telephone
As the popularity of cell phone usage rises, fewer households maintain the use of a landline phone. The calculations below are based on the assumption that an individual can purchase a basic prepaid cell phone for a monthly plan without a contract. This particular plan from AT&T provides 250 nationwide anytime minutes per month and unlimited texting. For every minute exceeding the included 250 minutes, an additional $0.10 charge is applied. Taxes and fees are assumed to be 10% of cost before tax.

Prepaid cell phone (AT&T) = $25 + taxes and fees = $27.50/month

Sources:
Verizon, http://www22.verizon.com/home/highspeedinternet/high-speed-internet-plans/
Time Warner Cable, http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/internet/plans.html
AT&T, www.att.com

Healthcare:
With employer-provided health insurance: $115.31 + $73.33 = $188.64/month x 12 = $2263.68/year (+8.99%)

Health Insurance (from Alternatives)
This calculation is based on the 2013 Staff Per-Payroll Contribution under the Simply Blue Copay Plan, averaging the co-pay plan and two high deductible plans. Alternatives pays 75% of individual health insurance premiums as soon as insurance starts for full-time staff.  55.55% of staff have the Co-pay plan and contribute $66.78/pay period (There are 26 pay periods.) 22.22% pay $43.10 to a high deductible plan, and 22.22% pay $29.46 to a higher deductible plan.
($66.78 x 55.55% = $37.09 + $43.10 x 22.22% = 9.58 + $29.46 x 22.22% = $6.55 = $53.22 x 26 payrolls= $1383.72/12 months = $115.31)

Health Insurance (from Healthy NY)
For those employers who do not offer employee sponsored Health Insurance, an individual can purchase health insurance from Healthy NY. There is a choice for individual coverage w/drugs under the Excellus Health Plan in Tompkins County: $380.80/month for a traditional plan, $307.07 for the high deductible plan. Average the two for $343.94/month which is $228.63 more than our staff pays towards their premium. That comes out to and additional $1.32/hour for a 40 hour week. ($228.63 x 12=$2743.56/2080=$1.32)

Out of pocket expenses based on Consumer Expenditure Survey 2011 (second 20% quintile)
    Medical services: $467
    Drugs: $314
    Medical supplies: $99
    Total: $880/12 = $73.33/month

Sources: 
Alternatives Federal Credit Union 2013 Health Insurance Rates, internal document
Consumer Expenditures Survey 2011 
http://www.bls.gov/cex/2011/Standard/cusize.pdf

2013 Healthy NY Rates by County, http://www.dfs.ny.gov/healthyny/rates/pdf/Tompkins.pdf

Recreation:
$107.00/month x 12 months = $1,284.00/year (+5.298%)
Activities important to work-life balance. Based on prior studies, minimum $100 has been increased by inflation. Increased $101.62 (2010) by 5.29% inflation rate to adjust for 2012 buying power.

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator, http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
Living Wage Study Notes 2009, http://www.alternatives.org/livingwage2009notes.html

Savings:
$64.00/month x 12 months = $768.00/year (+5.29%)
As a Credit Union, we think a savings habit is an important component of any budget.
Increased $60.78 (2010) by 5.29% inflation rate for 2012 buying power.

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator, http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
Living Wage Study Notes 2000, http://www.alternatives.org/livable_notes.html

Miscellaneous:
$113.75/month x 12 months = $1,365/ year (+2.98%)

Based on average annual figures from Consumer Expenditures Survey 2011
Housekeeping Supplies = $348
Apparel cost (Average, ages 16+) = $331 
Apparel cost (Men, ages 16+): $235
Apparel cost (Women, ages 16+): $427
Footwear = $161
Other apparel products and services $137
Personal care and services = $388

Sources:
Consumer Expenditures Survey 2011 (second 20%), http://www.bls.gov/cex/2011/Standard/quintile.pdf

References:
http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-1/pdf/travel-expenditures-2005-2011-spending-slows-during-recent-recession.pdf
http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-1/pdf/a-comparison-of-25-years-of-consumer-expenditures-by-homeowners-and-renters.pdf
http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2012/09/art1full.pdf

Taxes:
Payroll taxes increased, going back up to 7.65% equaling $2007.95 for the year or $167.33/mo.
Federal tax computation $1990.91/year = $165.91/mo.
NY State taxes would be $881.67/year = $73.47/mo.

Addendum:

Childcare:
Although this data is not included in the determination of a living wage for a single-household individual, it is provided here for reference. 

Infant: $1061.64/month x 12 months = $12,739.68/year
Toddler: $1062.32/month x 12 months = $12,747.84/year
Pre-school: $951.19/month x 12 months = $11414.28/year

Monthly (4 weeks) tuition rates are self-reported based on email inquiries to a random sample of registered local childcare centers and service providers. As close as possible, the data is selected for registered day care centers providing full day services for 5 days a week. 

Infant
Drop-in Children’s Center (full day): $1040
Bright Horizons/Cornell University Child Care Center (full day): $1474
NYS Self-sufficiency report 2010 (adjusted for inflation): $778.12
NYS Office of Children and Family Services survey 2010 (adjusted for inflation): $954.44

Average: $1061.64/month

Toddler
Drop-in Children’s Center (full day): $1000
Bright Horizons/Cornell University Child Care Center (full day): $1279
NYS Self-sufficiency report 2010 (adjusted for inflation): -
NYS Office of Children and Family Services survey 2010 (adjusted for inflation): $907.96

Average: $1062.32/month

Pre-school
Drop-in Children’s Center (full day): $920
Bright Horizons/Cornell University Child Care Center (full day): $1167
NYS Self-sufficiency report 2010 (adjusted for inflation): $890.03
NYS Office of Children and Family Services survey 2010 (adjusted for inflation): $827.72

Average: $951.19/month

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator, http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm
Monthly Tuition Schedule, Cornell University Child Care Center, https://www.hr.cornell.edu/life/support/c4_rates.pdf
Drop-in Children’s Center, http://www.dicc.org/fees.html (actual data obtained through email communication)
Child Care Market Rates 2011-2013 (2010), prepared by NYS Office of Children and Family Services, http://www.childdevelopmentcouncil.org/files/all/2011_market_rates.pdf (Full report at: https://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/policies/external/OCFS_2011/LCMs/11-OCFS-LCM-12%20Child%20Care%20Market%20Rates%202011-2013.pdf)
Child Care Costs and Financial Assistance, Child Development Council, http://www.childdevelopmentcouncil.org/content/view/financial-assistance.html
Tompkins County Childcare Centers listing, http://childcarecenter.us/county/tompkins_ny#.UO7z7ORX3ng 
The Self-sufficiency Standard for New York State 2010, prepared by Diana M. Pearce, PhD for the NYS Self-sufficiency Standard Steering Committee, http://www.selfsufficiencystandard.org/docs/New%20York%20State%202010.pdf (p.85 Tompkins County)
 

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Chris Setlock

In the spring of 2014, we learned that our minivan needed repairs in excess of it's value. We'd already been cutting back on our auto use, and were trying to walk and bike more. We'd been talking with friends and reading about cargo bikes as a car alternative. Around the same time, a new business, "Boxy Bikes" opened in Ithaca, which specializes in electric and cargo bikes. We found a model we were interested in, and approached alternatives seeking financing. Alternatives set us up with a signature loan, and a "green loan" discount on our rate. Thanks to Alternatives, we are now the happy owners of a "Yuba Mundo" Electric Cargo bike. We can get anywhere we need to go, using no gas, and creating no emissions. I can carry two passengers, or a weeks worth of groceries. The loan will be paid off in two years, and the bike could last for many more, at a fraction of the cost of an automobile.


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