One of the victories for kids we have had so far this year was getting kids under age four included in the Empire State Child Credit.
Read on to learn how, together, we are making a difference for about 800,000 New York children!
What It Is
The Empire State Child Credit is a tax credit most families with children can receive. For families who receive the full credit, it is $330 per year, per child.
A major problem was that when it was created in 2006, it was only for children ages four and older.
This year, kids won an expansion of the credit to children under age four.
Why It Matters
We know that family budgets are stretched when a child is born and infants and toddlers are the children most likely to live in poverty. Their families are the ones who could most use a financial boost.
While this state credit is small compared with the federal child tax credit, it still can make a difference. With $330:
From essential needs to early childhood education, $330 can help a child get a strong start in life.
How We Won
The keys to expanding the tax credit to infants and toddlers were collaboration, community organizing and persistence.
Together with our partners, especially the Schuyler Center for Advocacy & Analysis, we worked to understand how the tax code operated and why it excluded children under age four. This involved lots of conversations with state administrators and legislators, many of whom didn't know about the exclusion.
There were numerous bills introduced over the years to fix the problem, but the status quo continued. In 2020 there was finally a budget proposal to partially fill the gap, but then the pandemic happened and everything in state government shifted to the public health emergency.
In this case the pandemic also brought an opportunity because of the wildly popular (albeit temporary) expansion of the federal child tax credit. That raised awareness of how much impact these credits can have for children.
You -- our supporters and members of our Action Network -- solidified the public support when you sent letters to your representatives in Albany, calling for this common sense solution to be enacted.
This year with Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Senator Jeremy Cooney championing bills, we were able to overcome the long-standing inertia in Albany. Bolstered by last year's passage of the Child Poverty Reduction Act, expansion of the Empire State Credit to children of all ages got into the state budget!
This journey is typical of the work we do -- kids are counting on us to persist. So many of the victories for kids take years to win. By working together and never giving up, we get there.
Also typical is that no single victory accomplishes everything. Next legislative session we will be calling on you again to take action to fix another flaw in the tax code.
Currently, the tax structure incrementally increases the credit based on family income. So it's middle and upper income families who receive the full credit, while families with lower incomes receive a smaller credit. That means the kids who need the credit the most get the least.
We can change this! In the near future, you will see an Action Alert calling on you to tell your representatives in Albany that every child needs to receive the FULL $330 credit. Be ready to to take action!
Thank You to our Recent Donors!
Barbara Green • Candles 4 Kindness • Dr. Donald and Karen Pryor • Dorothy Romanet • Jen Cathy • Drs. Marc and Rebecca Lavender • Mark Siewert • Paul Tremblay and Dr. Jennifer West • Sarah Mittiga • Vincent Esposito
Children are young for a short time.
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The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.