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Schumer touts American Rescue Plan in visit to Glens Falls

A masked Sen. Charles Schumer visits Saranac Lake in August 2020. (Enterprise photo — Amy Scattergood

GLENS FALLS — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a stop at the Charles R. Wood Theater on Friday to tout the recently passed American Rescue Plan and laid out ways the $1.9 trillion legislation will help those struggling in the region.

Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said the legislation will not only provide much-needed relief for businesses and governments hit hard by the pandemic, but will help stimulate the economy and lift thousands of local children out of poverty.

“It’s a historic package that will help just about every person in this region. Every single person, one way or another,” he said.

Local aid

The legislation sets aside billions of dollars in long-sought federal aid for state and local governments, which is expected to be released directly to local governments within the next two months.

Funds can be used to recover lost revenue, as well as for infrastructure upgrades, including water, sewer and broadband. Money can also be used to help struggling businesses and be distributed to nonprofit organizations for housing assistance and other programs to combat poverty.

New York state will receive over $12 billion, while the plan allocates $15.6 million in direct aid for Clinton County, $7.2 million for Essex County and $9.7 million for Franklin County.

But the legislation also provides much-needed relief for restaurants and small venues, which were forced to close their doors last spring in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Local school districts will also see millions of dollars in financial support under the legislation, while stimulus payments totaling $1,400 for those earning $75,000 or less will assist those struggling and help stimulate the economy, Schumer said.

Save Our Stages act

Also included in the American Rescue Plan is the Save Our Stages program, which Schumer has been championing since last year.

Under the program, venues that were forced to close last spring can apply for grants equal to 45% of their gross revenue for 2019.

Schumer said the program will not only save struggling theaters, but will help bolster local businesses that have come to rely on theater patrons.

“Our arts institutions are part of the glue and the life of our communities,” he said. “They bring people together. People come downtown, they eat at the restaurants, they walk the streets, they shop at the stores. They’re vital.”

Child tax credit

The American Rescue Plan also bolsters the Child Tax Credit, increasing the credit for children ages 6 to 17 from $2,000 per child to $3,000. The credit has been increased to $3,600 for children below the age of 6.

Starting in July, single parents earning below $75,000 a year and couples with a combined income of $150,000 will begin receiving a tax credit totaling $250 a month per child for the next year.

Schumer said more than 3.5 million children across the state will benefit from the program, including the estimated 680,000 who live below poverty.

Half of the 14% of children living in poverty throughout the Glens Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area will be lifted out of poverty, according to Schumer.

“That’s vital,” he said.

Schumer said he hopes to tax credit becomes permanent.

“It’s one of the things I’d to see extended, absolutely,” he said. “If we can keep half the children out of poverty, we can change this country so much for the better.”

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