Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, director of New York government relations for Agudath Israel, joined elected officials from Queens, as well as religious leaders, advocates, and families, to call on New York State to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit.

The event, held on Sunday on the steps of Queens Borough Hall, was organized by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Children and Families Committee. It was attended by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky; New York City Council Member Linda Lee; Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities; Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq; Kercena Dozier, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund NY; Matthew Klein, Chief Program and Impact Officer of Robin Hood; Mrs. Sorolle Idels, founder of the Queens Jewish Alliance; Yocheved Kandler and Shira May representing community parents, especially those with children aged 0-4; and Alexa Arecchi, representing Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.

“The Empire State Child Tax Credit was designed to combat child poverty by providing low- and middle-income working parents with a refundable tax credit. Paradoxically, the credit excludes children under age four, the age children are most likely to experience poverty, and when parents have the most difficult time returning to work. Moreover, in a 50-state survey, New York was found to be the only state in the nation to specifically exclude young children,” explained Mr. Avrohom Weinstock, chief of staff of Agudath Israel of America. “Agudah has been advocating for bills introduced by Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi that would raise the per child credit and close this critical loophole to help working families.”

“It makes no sense that parents of children under four cannot claim this tax credit. This is the time when many new parents, especially those living in poverty, are entering the workforce. We should be encouraging and assisting them, not placing barriers in their way,” said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber at the press conference. “We thank Assemblyman Hevesi for championing this issue, and his colleagues in the Assembly Majority for including this fix in their one-house budget. We call on the Governor and the Senate to include this item in the final budget.”