CCC Responds to Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Address 

Issue Reports & Briefs

January 10, 2024

On Tuesday, January 9, Governor Hochul spoke to New Yorkers in her State of the State Address, commenting on several past and future investments and acknowledging current hardships faced by many across the state ahead of her budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025.  

As we regularly remark, budgets are moral documents and budget and policy choices matter. Acknowledging hardship is crucial, but we must use this opportunity to truly commit to investments that are proven to uplift families and children. Critical investments are needed to create stability in the health and human service workforce, to lift New Yorkers’ incomes, ensure food security for all, as well as to stabilize housing, and connect children to ECE, EI, and behavioral health care. 

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) looks forward to working with the Governor on many issues she called attention to in her State of the State address. We are especially appreciative of the focus on investments in children’s behavioral health and efforts to have an extension of Medicaid for children 0-6 to prevent fall off for this population. These investments can have powerful impacts on families. However, we know that if we want to truly address the core issues we are seeing in New York, we must address the pervasive and consistent poverty families face. As our Statewide Index reported, 835,815 children in New York live in households below the Federal Poverty Level. Therefore, while the $50 million designated for anti-poverty measures in upstate cities is a positive step forward, we must be bolder in our focus, and commit greater resources to efforts that minimize poverty to support families and create a thriving State of New York.     

We know pandemic recovery has been uneven and unequal where households hardest hit still struggle with loss of income, unstable housing and food insecurity. We know too that the health and human service sector is struggling to address persistently high demand for services. This sector has maintained care throughout the pandemic and is facing a crisis of workforce and funding. Due to these impediments, families, children and youth are met with unacceptable delays in access to cash and food aid, housing supports, early intervention, early care and education services, and behavioral health care. Furthermore, our state must support the migrants and asylum seekers to ensure their needs are met with humane and dignified supports. 

Therefore, we urge the governor and state legislature to prioritize the following for the FY25 budget:  

Strengthen Tax Policy to Lift Incomes

  • The State child tax credit must reach the poorest New Yorkers, currently excluded from the full credit, and provide an increased credit amount that would have a meaningful impact on a family’s budget;  
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) must reach all working New Yorkers who are eligible, including those filing with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). 

Expand Access to Public Benefits  

  • Increase the value of cash aid and shelter and prioritize facilitated access.  
  • Establish a Task Force for a state-funded version of SNAP for All, regardless of immigration status and establish a state SNAP minimum benefit program.   

Improve Housing Stability  

  • Enact and fund the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) to create New York’s first ever statewide rental subsidy program, including accessible to all immigrants.   

Support Child Health and Behavioral Health  

  • Establish and fund a statewide Healthy School Meals for All 
  • Increase rates of reimbursement rates for all in-person Early Intervention services to 11% to help address provider service shortages and increase access to services 
  • Increase access to high quality community based behavioral health care by adjusting outpatient clinic rates to reflect the complexity of serving children and families, keep pace with inflation, and compensate providers as they coordinate services with a growing array of care managers.  

Increase Access to Affordable Child Care  

  • Build on the state-wide pilot created in the 2023-24 NYS Budget and Promise NYC  to provide state-funded child care assistance to immigrant children 
  • Create and invest in a permanent compensation fund to increase childcare worker pay  

Invest in Child Welfare Prevention and Juvenile Justice Reform  

  • Restore the Child Welfare Funding to a 65/35 state/county statutory share for preventive, protective, and independent living services 
  • Expedite the distribution of Raise the Age funds to ALL counties, prioritize directing a share of resources to local CBOs that work directly with justice-involved youth 

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