Sen. Cooney Announces Legislation to Combat Childhood Poverty in New York

(Rochester, NY) - Complementing the recent federal stimulus investments made by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney (SD56) announced new legislation to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit. If fully enacted, New York’s child tax credit would provide low-income families with children a credit of $1,000 for younger children (under four years of age) and $500 for older children (ages 4-17) and make the expansions in the American Rescue Plan permanent for New York families. In Rochester, nearly 48% of children experience poverty. 

“I represent the City of Rochester, which has the highest percentage of child poverty in New York. We must raise the income for hard working families as well as address the root causes of child poverty if we want our children to have the opportunities they deserve,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “The Empire State Child Tax Credit will immediately put dollars in the pockets of struggling families and positively impact over 45,000 children in Monroe County alone. Importantly, we know that poverty is a product of structural racism as those who are most likely to experience poverty are disproportionately Black and Brown. Permanently implementing this tax credit will pay dividends to the State in the future and will help give all of our children a chance to succeed.”

Elected officials who represent Rochester and Monroe County support this measure:

Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25)
“We cannot stand idly by as more and more families fall into the devastating cycle of poverty,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “Expanding the child tax credit is vital to uplifting families and empowering them with the tools and resources to be successful. I’m proud of the increase we enacted through the federal American Rescue Plan, and I’m grateful for Senator Cooney’s leadership to further build on that relief for New York’s working families.” 

Mayor Lovely A. Warren
“Lifting children and families out of poverty should be the priority of every level of government,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “I’m excited that Senator Cooney is taking action to expand the State’s Child Tax Credit to achieve this goal. His efforts mirror the work of my Equity and Recovery Agenda to create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and greater educational opportunities. Together, we can and will make a real difference for Rochester’s families.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello
“Childhood poverty can impact every aspect of the daily lives of our youngest and most vulnerable residents – from health and nutrition to education and recreation. Sadly, this crisis has only been exacerbated by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely impacted countless impoverished and low income families,” said Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive.  “Senator Cooney’s legislation will help provide additional financial relief to those who are struggling the most, and is a long overdue measure that will help lift additional children and families out of poverty.”

Local advocacy groups also expressed their support:

Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI)
“Child poverty is one of the greatest challenges that we face in the State of New York, and Rochester in particular,” said Aqua Y. Porter, executive director of RMAPI. “Nearly half of all children in the city of Rochester are living in poverty, and the COVID-19 crisis has had a disproportionate impact on this already vulnerable group. In discussion with community members affected by poverty, they have told us they are worried about affording adequate child care and keeping food on the table for their families. This legislation to extend the Empire State Child Credit is needed to protect the most vulnerable members of our community and will be a critical step toward reducing poverty both in Rochester and across the state.”

The Children’s Agenda
“The evidence is clear and unsurprising that children benefit most from tax credits that boost the income of low-income families,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda. “There is nothing natural or inevitable about the fact that nearly 1 out of every 2 children (22,000) in Rochester live in poverty, or 1 out of every 5 (32,000) in Monroe County. Most importantly, the children who will gain the most from these improvements in the federal and state child credits come disproportionately from Black (4 times more likely to experience poverty in our region) and Latinx families (3 times more likely) left out by the inadequacies of the old credits. The Children’s Agenda applauds Sen. Jeremy Cooney (Rochester) and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi (Queens) for filling gaps in the recent federal changes and extending the Empire State Child Credit to benefit all children in New York State.”

The bills were introduced concurrently in the Senate (S.5866) and the Assembly with Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi carrying the bill (A.3146-A)

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