Two days ago, I received a New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement notice reminding me that I was $1,713 in arrears. No wonder that with 31% of my gross income going to child support and unreimbursed medical expenses, I am behind. I have not even started to pay $875 for my ex-wife lawyer fees, which Support Magistrate Grey sensibly added to my bill. The object of this notice was to warn me that if I failed to pay off everything by the end of October, I will not be eligible to receive a (US) passport or loose my tax refund, if any.
But in its great wisdom, the State of New York separates the wheat from the chaff, the good and the bad noncustodial fathers. With this letter came a flier trumpeting that some noncustodial parents might be eligible for a earned income tax credit of up to $1,030! Conditions: you earn less than $30,000 a year, you paid a total of $2,600 in child support from January 1 through December 31 2007. Let us do the math: to be eligible for the $1,030 New York State bonanza, assuming that this $2600 in child support payments a year is for one child and represents 17% of your gross income as New York State law prescribes, you have to make $15,294 gross a year. With that-let us wrongly assume this income is not taxed- you are left with some $1,000 after $200 a month in child support payments. The noncustodial parent earned income tax credit is like previous Pataki’s subsidized health insurance for all: you have to be close to dying of hunger to get it. Let’s face it folks: this is not this fiscal travesty that will worsen New York State budget deficit!
Why don’t liberal New York State start being serious – and fair- with noncustodial fathers? Revamp the existing child support laws and like in New Jersey and Minnesota, make child support payments depend on BOTH custodial and noncustodial parent incomes!