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Living Wage Study - May 1998 Study

The new Living Wage study, (originally done in 1994 and updated in 1996) shows the
Living Wage for an individual in Tompkins County is $16,500/year. This year's study is different than previous studies: Utilities and garbage are included in rent, one figure is given for transportation, rather than with and without a car, payroll, federal and state income taxes are included, and the bottom line figure supports the employee only. To support a dependent, rent would increase to $678/month, food and health care would almost double, and Child Care would range from $4432 per year in family day care to $7800/year for infant care at a Child Care Center.


Housing Solutions (includes gas, electric, garbage.)
Rent reflects in-town. Out of town transportation costs are higher, but rents lower.
Dept. Social Services, Food Stamp division, Low cost plan.
Bell Atlantic
Health Care
Health insurance premium (75% paid by employer) + $300 additional for co-pay, dental and other uncovered medical expenses
Vacation, movies, cable, sports, books, magazines, etc.
Household goods, clothing, laundry, sales tax, furniture, appliances, garden supplies, etc.
Payroll tax
Federal tax
Income minus $6800 x 15%
State tax
Income minus $7500 x 4%
$9.07@35; $8.76@36.25; $8.47@37.5; $7.94/hr @40/hrs/wk

Thanks to Yat-She Shum, an intern from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University for collecting the data used in this study. For copies or information, contact Leni Hochman, lhochman@alteratives.org; (607) 216-3418.

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The Finger Lakes ReUse Center was awarded The Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business at Alternatives’ 2012 annual meeting, with Executive Director Diane Cohen accepting the award. Cohen expressed her thanks: “We will hang the award prominently and proudly in our Reuse Center, and as we grow, we will continue to use this as a beacon, to continue our efforts to maximize our capacity to provide opportunities and relieve hardship. We know we are in solidarity with Alternatives on these issues. We're a young organization with a mission to enhance community, economy, and environment through reuse, and a priority to serve our community well. Receiving this award has been an honor and an affirmation.”

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