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Senator Cooney, Advocates Calling for More Funding for Families with Children


(L to R) Larry Marx, CEO, The Children’s Agenda; Yversha Roman, Director of CASH Rochester; Senator Jeremy Cooney; Aqua Porter, Executive Director, RMAPI; Jerome Underwood, President & CEO, Action for a Better Community. Photo credit: Miles Cunning

Many state lawmakers and advocates have been pushing to have the New York State child tax credit for families increased; but so far, their voices have been heard but not acted upon.


Governor Kathy Hochul released her proposed budget last month but did not include increases. Neither was there an increase included in the one house proposed budgets released by the New York State Assembly or Senate last week.—Although the Senate plan did include an eligibility expansion to provide benefits to parents of children ages 0-3.


Advocates are not giving up though. Monday Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) and local anti-poverty advocates held a press conference, appealing on lawmakers to heed their calls and include increases in the 2024 final budget.


The push for child tax credit increases comes since a federal program that provided $300 per month to families has expired. The program was funded in the American Rescue Plan—a stimulus bill created to assist in fighting the COVID pandemic—and lasted for a six month period. The U.S. Census bureau credit it for lifting 2.9 million children out of poverty.


The current New York State Empire Child Tax Credit is a minimum $100 per child and a maximum of $330 for children ages 4 through 16.


Cooney has legislation that would increase the maximum credit for children 4 years and older to $500, and to $1,000 for children under 4.


“New York State is stepping up for children in the absence of the federal government,” Cooney said. “These provisions have the potential to be transformative for families with children across New York.”


Other organizations represented at Monday’s press event included The Children’s Agenda, Action for a Better Community, the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), and CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope), a community coalition led by the Empire Justice Center


They are all calling on New York to provide “greater state support for children.”


Some advocates are supporting the Working Families Tax Credit plan which would give families $500 per child (regardless of income) and provide up to $1,500 per child for sing parents with incomes under $25,000 and $50,000 for two parent households. Payments would be paid out quarterly.


Whatever the final plan, advocates say New York needs to do more for children.


“The economically marginalized children and families of today will lead this community tomorrow. Let’s invest in our people now rather than pay the price for neglect later,” said Jerome Underwood, President & CEO, Action for a Better Community.

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