Back in 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which enshrined an ambitious climate goal into statute, and created a Climate Action Council to develop recommendations to meet those targets.

A new bill, sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Harry Bronson, would use the same strategy to combat child poverty.

The Child Poverty Reduction Act (S.9012/A.11063) aims to cut child poverty in half by 2030. Just as the Climate Act required the state to put its goals into statute, so does the CPRA. 

And that’s not the only similarity.

Here’s what the bill does:

  • Binds the legislature and the Governor in a commitment to take action on child poverty over the next ten years.
  • Creates an advisory body to generate those policy proposals. 
  • Requires that the Division of the Budget assess budget and policy decisions with regard to their impact on child poverty and inequity.

“Child poverty has been flat for about a decade,” Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy told Capital Tonight. “Despite the fact that our policy makers talk about it and do things that they hope will address it, we have never taken a comprehensive look at the multitude of policies and budget decisions that can have an impact on child poverty.”

The numbers tell a bleak story.

Just under 20% of New York’s children live in poverty, which translates into a family of 4 with an annual income of under $26,000. 

Children of color are twice as likely to live in poverty as white children.

While there is a whole array of policies that the state uses to address poverty, Breslin describes these efforts as “scattershot.” 

“It’s time to really look at how can we, and do we move the needle and commit to each other. And I want our legislators and our governor to commit to us, as New Yorkers that we’re going to actually do something,” Breslin said.

Breslin said she realizes that cutting child poverty in half by 2030 is an ambitious goal, which is why she wants it enshrined in statute, like climate change advocates did with the Climate Act.

“We want to set the goal, and then really work at all the different places where we can have an impact,” Breslin said.