GovernmentThe White Plains Examiner

Jones Highlights Build Back Better’s Wins for Westchester

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Congressman Mondaire Jones and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, flanked by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, left, Greenburgh resident Ayeshah Parker and White Plains Teachers’ Association President Kara McCormick-Lyons (R). Photo Courtesy of Talia Marcus

In March, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-White Plains) stood outside Greenburgh resident Ayeshah Parker’s family home and promised to fight to lift the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap from $10,000. Nine months later, Jones, alongside elected officials and community leaders, held a press conference in the same location to highlight key victories of the Build Back Better Act, which recently passed in Congress. 

Among those victories were increasing the SALT deduction cap to $80,000, universal childcare and preschool and an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit. 

“By increasing the SALT deduction to $80,000 for the years 2021 through 2030, this bill will provide much-needed tax relief to many thousands of families in my district, where we pay the highest property taxes in the entire nation,” Jones said. “The Build Back Better Act will invest in a truly universal childcare program for the first time in our nation’s history, catching us up to the rest of the developed world.”

Together, Jones said, these programs will be transformative for Westchester families, many of whom have struggled throughout the pandemic due to high costs of living, unmet childcare needs and challenges reentering the workforce.

Under the Build Back Better Act, low-income and some middle-income families will qualify for high-quality childcare for free. In New York, families making under $250,000 as a household will not pay more than 7 percent of their yearly income on childcare. 

“By passing this bill, which will ensure that high-quality childcare is affordable for every family in America, I’m proud to be providing a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of families,” Jones said. 

Passing the Build Back Better Act represents a once-in-a-generation socioeconomic investment in the American people, he added. With the bill now in the Senate, Jones said he will work alongside his Democratic colleagues and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to ensure it passes and is implemented expeditiously. 

“When we have a nationwide crisis, we need Congress to respond,” said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Pleasantville), who represents Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant. “And they did, they came through when we needed them most.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer thanked Jones for his leadership in getting the Build Back Better Act passed in the House and highlighted how the latest move to raise the SALT deduction cap will have a positive impact on Westchester’s working middle-class homeowners. 

“When you look at all the different programs that are involved in this bill, you see not just social ideas being implemented,” Latimer said. “You see the kind of economic development that will make this country’s economy grow coming out of COVID. This bill and the policies within it are intelligent economic development.” 

White Plains Teachers’ Association President Kara McCormick-Lyons underscored that quality childcare and universal pre-K are both a win for Westchester’s children and families. 

“They provide opportunities for our children to develop the academic skills that they need to thrive throughout their entire lives,” McCormick-Lyons said. “Now families can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their children will have access to these vital steps toward a secure and bright future thanks to the Build Back Better Act.”

Parker, who is raising her four young children in the same house where her husband’s grandparents lived 50 years ago, shared how crucial the Child Tax Credit was in supporting her family. 

“As much joy as having a large family brings, it’s a constant negotiation of how are we going to make sure that we can provide the quality of life that we know our kids deserve while remaining in a community that we feel very strongly that we belong in,” Parker said. “The Child Tax Credit hands down was the only way that we were able to place our youngest child in daycare this year.”

Board of Legislators Majority Leader MaryJane Shimsky (D-Dobbs Ferry) said Congress passing the Build Back Better Act, along with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, is crucial for not only families countywide but also the nation. 

“These are going to be the pieces of transformational legislation that we need to become competitive in the world economy,” Shimsky said. 

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