January 20, 2009

Gillibrand Introduces Bill to End Tax on Single Moms

Makes Elimination of the Single Parent Tax Act First Official Act as Senator

Washington DC - Today, Kirsten Gillibrand, the newly sworn in Senator from New York, announced that she would introduce the Elimination of the Single Parent Tax Act, and called on Congressional leaders to include it in the upcoming economic stimulus legislation.  This bill, which will mark the new Senator's first official act, would eliminate an annual fee on child support enforcement that affects single parents across the state.

"While families across New York are struggling with the effects of an economic slowdown, the government should not be taxing money intended to help children," said Senator Gillibrand.  "This legislation will make sure that single parents are getting the support payments they need to make it through this economic recession."

Senator Gillibrand learned about the fee when she was approached by several single moms at a Congress At Your Corner event last fall.  As the mothers she spoke with pointed out, $25 is a week's worth of lunches for their sons and daughters.  At least 170,000 New York families are expected to be affected by the fee.

The fee was required by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and was aimed at reducing the cost of the enforcement program. The act gave states the option of paying the fee themselves, charging it to the parent who is paying the child support, or deducting it from support payments.  However, because of budgetary concerns, most states have chosen to deduct the fee from payments to the single parents. 

"The federal budget deficit should not be balanced on the backs of single parents," said Senator Gillibrand.  "Effective child support enforcement is a great way to help stimulate the economy, because it invests money directly in families that need it most." 

For every $1 government invests in child support enforcement, more than $4 goes directly to children and families.  Additionally, for every dollar spent on enforcement, it saves a dollar in the costs of other programs like Medicaid and welfare.  The Congresswoman's bill is expected to cost approximately $170 million over two years.  The stimulus package is expected to include $1 billion for states to improve their child support programs, out of an expected total of $825 billion.