2020年02月25日 23:23:56|来源:国际在线|编辑:QQ晚报
Thousands of Detroit and Wayne County homeowners face tax foreclosures. Some of those families still have time to save their homes, but they might be paying more in taxes than they should have had to pay.Cheryl West has been living in her home for 60 years. Her family bought it when she was eight years old. Its near the historic Boston-Edison neighborhood in Detroit. But she lost it to tax foreclosure before she learned all her options.;The house had aly gone for eviction, that I was to be evicted from the home. By that point it had gone for auction,; she explained.She now rents the house, but she suspects the landlord will evict her and move into it.All indications are that West never should have lost the house. She lives on her Social Security check. People with incomes near poverty can get a poverty exemption on their taxes.;I found out at the very end zone that, in fact, I should have been eligible for the exemption for property taxes and no one told me that,; she said.And advocates say a lot of people lose their homes because they dont know they can challenge their property tax assessment.David Mitchell is a member of the group Detroit Eviction Defense. He says as property values have plummeted, tax bills should have gone down too.;Its the county that has never reassessed these properties, that is charging people for thousands of dollars over what their actual taxes should be and saying, Oh, we messed up? Thats too bad. Youve still got to pay or youve got to leave your house; Mitchell said. Detroit Eviction Defense has been calling for a moratorium on tax foreclosures.Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz says he cant do that.;It isnt within our authority. Its a higher public service organization, legislative specifically, that can only attain that goal for those people,; Wojtowicz said.;They need to go talk to the state legislature? Fine. They need to go talk to the governor? Fine,; Mitchell responds, ;but, at the end of the day theyre not doing enough to get what we need, which is a moratorium and a halt to these foreclosures until they can figure out whats going on.;The county treasurers office says there are many programs in place to help people, but it cannot retroactively adjust assessments and it cannot retroactively grant people a poverty exemption. Thats something homeowners have to do before foreclosure.Frank Alexander is a law professor at Emory University. He helped draft Michigan laws that help homeowners struggling with mortgage and tax foreclosures. He says more needs to be done to prevent foreclosures and keep people in their homes.;Michigan doesnt have adequate circuit breakers to create exemptions for owner-occupied property, particularly the low income, low-to-moderate income owner-occupied property. They should not be paying significant property taxes,; Alexander said.Changes to state law have helped some people avoid foreclosure, for now. New low-interest payment plans have cut Wayne Countys foreclosure list from 22,000 owner occupied homes to 4200. More people still can make those kinds of arrangements if they get into the treasurers office before June 8th.But, there will still be a lot of families wholl lose their homes, and this is not a one-time event.Jerry Paffendorf is with Loveland. It gathers data on property. ;Unless something systematically different happens, this is will not be the last year of tax foreclosure at this scale. I think its important for people to understand this is not a solved problem because were flushing out the system, so to speak,; Paffendorf said.The Wayne County Treasurers office confirms next year could be just as bad.Support for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative on Michigan Radio comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalisms Michigan Reporting Initiative, and the Ford Foundation.201505/377722Britain Measuring poverty英国 衡量贫困The end of the line贫困终止The government sets out to redefine what it means to be poor政府着手重新定义贫穷When Seebohm Rowntree, a chocolate-maker and pioneering social researcher, began measuring poverty in York in 1899, he worked out the minimum needed to buy enough food for “physical efficiency”. In 1935, when he repeated the study, Rowntree added allowances for cigarettes, newspapers and a holiday. By 1951 he concluded that poverty was on its way towards being eradicated, with only pockets among the elderly left, and stopped counting.1899年,当巧克力制造商和社会学家先驱的西伯姆·朗特里(Seebohm Rowntree)在约克(York)开始测量贫困,他提出了“最低温饱线”的理论。在1935年,在反复研究之后,他又推行了关于香烟,报纸以及假期的补贴制度。并在1951年的时候,他得出结论,称除了部分老人外,若按此方法进行下去将会贫困将会得到消除,因此他停下了研究的脚步。Few now experience the raw penury of Rowntree’s day. But measuring poverty remains an obsession. In its dying days the last Labour government passed a law committing its successors to reduce child poverty. That is causing trouble for the present lot. Under the law, poverty is defined primarily in relative terms: families with less than 60% of the median income are considered to be poor. On November 15th Iain Duncan Smith, the welfare secretary, was set to launch a consultation to come up with a better definition. He wants to include things that he regards as the real causes of want: worklessness, educational failure and drug and alcohol dependency.现在很少有人能体验到朗特里时代的贫困。但是测衡贫困至今仍是个谜题。在上一届工党最后的执政日子里,通过了一项关于他们下届将会减少儿童贫困的法案。这对当下执政者造成了许多困扰。根据这项法律,贫穷的定义是相当于而言的:当家庭的收入低于收入中位数(median income)的60%时,即被认为是贫困。在11月15日,福利大臣伊恩·邓肯·史密斯(Iain Duncan Smith)着手组织咨询讨论,为其寻找一个更好的定义。他希望能把他认为真正导致贫困的原因加入进去即失业,辍学,吸毒以及酗酒。There are several problems with the current measure. Because it is relative, it is influenced by changes in overall earnings. Figures released over the summer showed a sharp reduction in child poverty over the last year—mostly the result of falling median incomes rather than a genuine improvement. The measure fails to take into account the quality of services that the poor receive, such as education and health. Worst of all, from the point of view of a cash-strapped government, huge amounts of money must be spent on tax credits and other welfare programmes to raise family incomes up to the threshold.目前贫困的标准存在几个问题。因为该标准属于相对标准,受整体收入变动的影响。如夏季公布的图表所示,与去年全年相比,今年同期的儿童贫困数量急剧下降,这主要是因为收入中位数的大幅下降并非现实状况的真正改善。这项措施并未将贫困儿童接受补助的质量纳入考虑范围,这其中就包括教育和医疗。对于现金拮据的政府来说,更糟糕的是,他们必须花费巨资在税务抵免和其他福利计划上,才能将家庭收入高于贫困线。But several charities are nervous about changing how poverty is defined and suspect Mr Duncan Smith of trying to wriggle out of a commitment to his predecessors’ targets. These had some benign effects. Since 1999, when Tony Blair announced his ambition to end child poverty, the profile of the poor has changed profoundly. Thanks to tax credits, the proportion of children living in households below the poverty line has fallen by around a third. Pensioners, who have been supported since 2003 with a special credit, are now less likely to be in poverty than younger people. But working-age adults without children are actually worse off: whereas 12% were considered to be in poverty in 1997, now 15% are.但是一些慈善组织对重新定义贫困深感不安,并且怀疑这是这是邓肯·史密斯在逃避对其前任政府所定目标的承诺。那些目标还是有些积极地作用的。在1999年的时候,当托尼·布莱尔(Tony Blair)高调宣布,他将终结儿童贫困为己任,这一系列的措施让贫困儿童的现状发生了翻天覆地的变化。由于税收抵免,生活在贫困线之下儿童的比例较之前减少了1/3。自2003年以来领取养老金者便享受一项特殊津贴,相较于那些年轻人,他们受贫穷的可能性更低。但那些处于工作适龄却没有孩子的群体的经济状况实际上恶化了:在1997年,他们中有12%的人生活在贫困线以下,而现在已经达到了15%。It is not clear that this progress will continue, says Chris Goulden, a researcher at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The government’s big welfare reform—the universal credit—creates strong incentives for people to work for a few hours, which may help to increase incomes. But other reforms work in the opposite direction. Mr Goulden reckons that child poverty will increase significantly by 2020, mostly thanks to a change to how benefit rates are increased with inflation.约瑟夫·朗特里基金会(Joseph Rowntree Foundation)的研究人员克里斯·戈尔登(Chris Goulden) 认为目前还不清楚的是,这项改进计划是否会持续进行,而政府一项中较大的福利改革——全社会的税收减免——极大地激励了人们每周增加工作时间,将有利于增加他们的收入。但是其他的改革却是与此背道而驰的。戈尔登认为,2020年儿童贫困将会大大的增加。这主要是因为即使福利保障水平会上涨,但是通货膨胀水平也会不断上升。The long economic slump and the rising price of food and energy have aly made life harder for the very poorest. At a church in Brixton, in south London, desperate folk wait for parcels of donated food. Many similar food banks have opened recently, mostly helping people in debt, or those whose benefits have been suspended. The church recently collected donations from annual harvest festivals in schools. In the past, children collected food for the elderly, remarks the vicar. Now they collect it for their classmates.漫长的经济衰退时期以及粮食和能源价格的不断上涨,使得贫困者的生活更加举步维艰。在伦敦南部布里克斯顿(Brixton)的一座教堂里,无论可走的人们在等待人们捐赠的食物包裹 。而在近期,开放了许多类似的食物发放站,主要用来帮助那些负债累累或者救助金暂停发放的人们。而教堂近期的捐赠是从一年一度的校园收获感恩节(harvest festivals)上募集来的。牧师称,在过去,孩子们为老人家募捐。但是现在他们为自己的同学募捐。 翻译:周颖译文属译生译世 /201608/462736

Amos Ziegler has developed a smartphone app that could make it a lot tougher for invasive plants and critters to sneak into our state and get a foothold before theyre detected.The MISIN app is one component of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, a regional effort to develop and provide an early detection and rapid response resource for invasive species in the Midwest.Like their website, found here, the app depends on user interaction to assist in the identification and reporting of invasive species in the Midwest.Amos says the app also provides resources to educate users about how to identify hundreds of invasive species and allow them to report species sightings.Amos app relies on the phones built-in GPS and encourages users to take a picture of the species sighted, and asks a few simple questions to describe the density and approximate size of the infestation.The report is then sent to the website, where it is added to the database.The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices, and download links can be found here.201505/373522

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