Assemblymember Bronson: Assembly Budget Puts Families First

Budget proposal includes funding for child care, paid family leave, a fair minimum wage and affordable housing

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced that the Assembly’s budget proposal invests in programs to help hardworking families get ahead, including an expansion of anti-poverty, job training initiative, which Bronson championed.

“We must do more to reduce the number of families living in poverty,” said Bronson. “These are not extraordinary ideas. They’re common sense. These initiatives will go far in helping families have more of their hard-earned money to pay bills, provide for their families and save for college and retirement.”

Rochester has been hit particularly hard by economic downturns and has the highest childhood poverty rate – just over 50 percent – among similarly sized cities.1 Bronson understands initiatives such as quality child care, paid family leave and raising the minimum wage as key to lifting families out of poverty. Rochester families would greatly benefit from the $37.5 million allocated in the Assembly’s budget for an anti-poverty initiative, which would expand the number of communities with greater needs that receive funding. Additionally, an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit is also included in the Assembly proposal to help those working to provide for their families.

Paid family leave and funding for child care

The Assembly’s paid family leave proposal supports workers by letting them take time off to care for a newborn or sick family member without sacrificing their financial security. This plan would be financed by a maximum 45-cent contribution per week by employees and allows workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave without fear of losing their jobs. This year’s Assembly budget proposal also includes $83.7 million to fund child care subsidies and other quality measures.

“We understand that in order to work, parents need the peace of mind that their children are getting good-quality, affordable child care,” said Bronson. “We cannot expect families living in poverty to be able to improve their situation without help for these programs.”

Raising the minimum wage and funding job-training programs

The Assembly’s plan institutes a minimum wage increase that would be phased in gradually, reaching $15 per hour by Dec. 31, 2021. After this, the minimum wage will be indexed to the rate of inflation to keep up with the cost of living.

Funding for job-training programs and tax incentives to employers for hiring apprentices are also included in the Assembly proposal to help more people get the skills training needed to find good-paying jobs, Bronson noted. This includes $12.5 million for the creation of the Empire State Apprenticeship Program just for this purpose. The Assembly’s also includes investments to encourage employers to hire disadvantaged youth around the state through the Urban Youth Jobs Program as well as funding for our veterans with the Hire-a-Veteran program and a focus on women with the Displaced Homemakers program.

Affordable housing and ending homelessness

Further, the Assembly’s budget includes $30 million to construct and improve supportive housing units in upstate New York. Other programs designated for funding include improvements to emergency shelters, tenant protection, homeless services and housing rehabilitation for low- and middle-income tenants and homebuyers. The Assembly proposes an increase of $9.5 million to support two important programs, the New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP) and Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), along with additional funding for homeless shelters throughout the state.

“Affordable housing, quality child care, a living wage, paid family leave and incentives for employers to train job-seekers – these are all common-sense and necessary measures that will make a huge difference in the lives of so many families in our community,” said Bronson. “I will continue to fight for what Rochester families need to survive and thrive.”