New York lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are being urged to take up measures in the state budget this month meant to address poverty in nearly all facets of life in the state.
The philanthropic organization Robin Hood Foundation on Tuesday will released a report outlining the steps New York can take in the state budget, ranging from an expansion of the state's child tax credit to increasing the state's minimum wage and indexing it to the rate of inflation.
The group's report also takes on more controversial measures for lawmakers, endorsing Hochul's proposal to lift the regional cap on charter schools in New York City and allowing new charters to be licensed. The group also wants to enact a fund for unemployed New Yorkers who are not covered by federal jobless benefits.
The report comes as lawmakers and Hochul are negotiating the governor's $227 billion budget proposal that is due at the end of the month. Budget resolutions from the state Assembly and Senate are expected in the coming days, offering a clearer roadmap for where negotiations will head by April 1.
The Robin Hood Foundation wants state officials to focus on the issues facing low-income New Yorkers.
"In New York State, nearly 1-in-5 children are living in poverty, which has lasting impacts on children, families, and communities that cost New York State upwards of $60 billion per year in terms of reduced adult productivity, criminal justice costs, and increased health expenditure," the group wrote in its report.
The organization wants to expand eligibility for the child tax credit to include kids under age 4 and end the earnings requirement and phase-in so all families would qualify. The group also wants to increase the amount of the credit to $1,000 in a bid to lift an estimated 112,000 children out of poverty.
The group is also endorsing a housing access voucher program as proposed by the legislative housing committee chairs, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and state Sen. Brian Kavanagh.
And the foundation is calling for expanded access to child care as more money is being committed to efforts to expand the system in the state.
"To ensure families reap the benefits of last year’s nation-leading child care investments, New York must maximize the number of eligible families utilizing the state’s child care assistance program by addressing both the shortage of providers and the administrative and application burdens that lead to low uptake rates," the group wrote.