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Experts say commission punted on Census preparation recommendations

ALBANY — Months of hearings by a panel tasked with shaping the state’s Census preparations produced a 126-page report that is light on specific recommendations and defers much of its authority to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, according to some activists and experts.

The “blueprint” — due nearly nine months ago — was approved Tuesday without objection in a meeting of the Complete Count Commission, which was formed to craft a comprehensive action plan and identify the funding needed to lay the ground work for a complete count of New Yorkers next year.

“It’s a road map, but unfortunately it doesn’t get us to our destination,”Commissioner Esmeralda Simmons said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Hanging in the balance is billions of dollars in federal aid and the state’s representation in Congress, which will be determined by New York’s recorded population in the 2020 Census.

The report broadly identifies strategies for promoting participation in the Census process, such as utilizing community organizations for local outreach, but stops short of specific plans and doesn’t calculate how much it will all cost. The few detailed proposals primarily involve marshaling existing state resources.

Commission members appointed by the governor and his political allies enthusiastically embraced the final product, describing it as …read more

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