Press Release: Legislators & Advocates Call for Working Family Tax Credits to Fight Childhood Poverty

Strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Credit Boosts New York’s Working Families

PRESS RELEASE

 For Immediate Release:  May 30, 2019

Contact: Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

(518) 879-6616 / dhill@scaany.org

Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute (518) 469-6769 / deutsch@fiscalpolicy.org

Pete Nabozny, The Children’s Agenda (518) 929-1264 / pete@thechildrensagenda.org

Legislators & Advocates Call for Working Family Tax Credits to Fight Childhood Poverty

Strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Credit Boosts New York’s Working Families

(Albany, NY) On many levels, New York is an affluent state with high median incomes, quality schools and prosperous corporations, but as the United Way reports, 45 percent of households in NYS cannot afford basic necessities.  As evidenced by the United Way of New York’s comprehensive, data-driven ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, relying on the federal poverty guidelines is a poor measure – it is clear that while struggling working families may be above the poverty line, they are far from secure.

Increasing our states’ Earned Income Tax Credit from a 30% to 40% match and including non-custodial parents under 25 would provide real support and stability to over 1.5 million households while expanding the Empire State Child Care Credit to include children under 4 provides a critical safety net and much-needed investment in our youngest New Yorkers.

Lawmakers and advocates urge New York to before the end of the 2019 legislative session to address our child poverty epidemic. More than one in five NY children live in poverty; with that rate rising to nearly one in three among children of color. This means about 803,000 NY children live in homes where food and heat are scarce, housing is unstable, and transportation is unreliable. Many cities throughout upstate New York have child poverty rates at or near fifty percent. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed.

There is still time for NY to take real steps this year toward reducing child and young adult poverty by strengthening NY’s refundable working family tax credits. A.1222 (Jaffee) would extend the state’s child tax credit to include very young children, and A.1055 (Bronson), would extend the state’s EITC to include young adults, and A. 3702 (Schimminger) would strengthen the state’s EITC overall.

The human costs of child poverty are staggering. Experiencing poverty as a child – even for short stints – can impair brain development, physical and mental health, and academic achievement, and increase the possibility of child welfare involvement. And the impacts can last a lifetime. Childhood poverty is the single best predictor of adult poverty.

Child poverty also imposes extraordinary economic costs to the state. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that child poverty costs the nation $800 billion to $1.1 trillion annually in reduced adult productivity, increased costs of crime, and health expenditures associated with children growing up in poor families.

Learn more:

New York State United Way ALICE Project (ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) 

Reworking New York State’s Family Tax Credits

Statements:

Assistant Assembly Speaker Félix W. Ortiz:

“Federal policies have made life financially difficult for all New Yorkers, especially those in the lowest income brackets. We need to assist our families that are struggling, especially those with children, by strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit in New York. We must protect the welfare of all of our residents.”

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger:

“Time and again, we see how quickly day-to-day expenses and unexpected bills can add up, throwing a family’s monthly budget off track. The EITC can provide cash-strapped working families with much-needed support to help cover living expenses. The bill I am sponsoring (A3702) would increase the EITC to 35 percent in 2020. This will ease the burden on families with children and allow parents to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Chair of the Committee on Children and Families:

“At a time when too many hardworking New Yorkers are raising young children and struggling to lift their families out of poverty, I am proud to sponsor A.1222. This bill would expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit to include infants and toddlers, while doubling the tax credit for young children. I also strongly support A.1055 (Bronson), which would strengthen the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. New York State has a moral responsibility to address our shameful epidemic of childhood poverty and invest in the economic stability of our children, youth and families. We must pass this legislation now.”

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre

“As economic stability continues to plague New Yorkers, all of us have a responsibility to ensure that our children have the resources they need to pave a brighter future, and these working family tax credits do just that. I thank Assembly Members Bronson and Jaffee for leading on this critical issue.”

Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute:

“New York’s low-income working families are struggling to stay afloat and give their children a good start in life as costs have risen faster than their pay over several decades. Smart tax policies including strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Empire State Child Credit would have lasting benefits for children statewide. Kids whose families receive working family tax credits do better in school, are likelier to attend college, and are likely to earn more as adults. That’s important not only for the children themselves but for our country and economy.”

Brenda Episcopo, President & CEO, United Way of New York State

“It is well documented that NY has a high rate of poverty among children and young adults. The study commissioned by United Way of New York State on ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) shows that more than 45% of New Yorkers can not afford a basic household survival budget. The report further illustrates a dramatic decline in heads of household under the age of 25 in NY. Enhancing and expanding the Empire State Child Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit is an important way to reduce poverty and ALICE, while strengthening the financial stability of the working class and giving a strong start to our youngest residents.”

Kate Breslin, President & CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis & Advocacy

“With the economy humming and unemployment at record lows, there is simply no excuse for child poverty that exceeds 20% overall, and nearly 30% among children of color. And most children in poverty have parents who are working. New York’s young adults are struggling to gain their footing in the workforce. Working family tax credits make the paychecks of working New Yorkers stretch so they can move themselves and their children out of poverty.   We are grateful to Senators Montgomery and Parker, and Assemblymembers Jaffee, Bronson, Schimminger, and Kolb for legislation that strengthens New York’s child tax credit and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), representing an important step in what we hope will be an ongoing effort to end child and young adult poverty in New York. We strongly urge our leaders to pass this legislation in this 2019-20 Legislative Session; every year we miss is a lost opportunity for thousands of children.”

Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda

“Ending childhood poverty should be a top priority for policymakers in Albany and Washington, D.C. – and we know how to do it. More than half of children in our state’s third largest city, Rochester, NY, live in poverty. Similarly, high child poverty rates are found in every corner of the state, from Jamestown to Watertown to the Bronx. This is simply unacceptable. The Empire State Child Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit are two of the most effective tools we have to reduce poverty and support low-income families. The Children’s Agenda applauds Assemblywoman Jaffee for proposing to extend the child tax credit to include very young children and Assemblyman Bronson for proposing to extend the EITC to young adults just transitioning into the workforce. We urge other legislators and the Governor to act this year by adopting these bills in the 2019-20 state budget.”

The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches:

“In the face of horrible child and youth poverty rates in New York, it is really terrible that our lawmakers continue to give such low priority to young people who need our help to survive and thrive. The neglect is an old story. In the Gospels, we learn that the people were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might care for them. Unfortunately, the disciples spoke sternly to the children and pushed them away. The disciple’s neglect, however, angered Jesus who said to these disciples: ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.’  Jesus stood up to the disciples and cared for the kids. As the New York State Council of Churches, we wish to pose this question to our lawmakers: Will you act like the disciples or will you finally give children your highest priority?”

The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.

 

###

 

%d bloggers like this: