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New Yorkers could get expanded child tax credit

Lawmakers in New York are pushing to invest $4 billion in child tax credits for families in the state’s next budget. The plan, which was not included in Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive proposal, would provide $500 credit per child to families regardless of income, with single parents making under $25,000 a year or $50,000 for two-parent households eligible for up to $1,500 per child. The payments would be sent to households quarterly and would begin in 2024.

The Working Families Tax Credit is expected to reduce child poverty by 20%, according to sponsor Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who modeled the tax credit after the federal expanded child tax credit funded in the American Rescue Plan, which expired. The federal program was estimated to have lifted 2.9 million children out of poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The tax credit would expand to families with children under 3 years old and would include all New Yorkers, regardless of citizenship status, to help pay for groceries, utilities or other bills. It would combine and expand the state’s existing child tax credit with the Earned Income Tax Credit program funded with less than $1 billion in last year’s budget.

The proposal would require doubling investments for child and dependent tax credit programs to about $4 billion annually, according to the Citizens Budget Commission. However, the state’s fiscal outlook remains difficult, with budget gaps expected between $7 billion and $9 billion over the next several years, said Patrick Orecki, Citizens Budget Commission’s director of state studies.

Assembly Republicans are against including the expanded credit in the budget because undocumented immigrants are eligible for the program. But Sen. Gounardes argues that with a $227 billion budget, the state can afford the credit to reduce child hunger and poverty for everyone.

Representatives with the Senate and Assembly said legislative leaders are continuing to conference these issues before they release their separate one-house budgets in the middle of next month. Budget hearings will continue when lawmakers return to Albany next week.

Hochul signed legislation last year requiring the state to decrease its rate of child poverty by 50% over the next decade. Lawmakers in support of funding the Working Families Tax Credit in the upcoming budget argue the governor didn’t include specific plans in her executive budget to reduce child poverty in the state in keeping with the law, and the expanded credit would be a way to do it.