Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week proposed a new federal tax credit to help combat Rochester, N.Y.'s ongoing lead problems. The tax credit would offset the cost of cleaning the lead out of people’s homes. In 2014, roughly 7.4% of children in Rochester tested with blood-lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter, a point now considered to be poisonous.
Schumer’s tax credit would apply nationwide to property owners with annual incomes of $110,000 or less. These credits would cover up to half of the cost of getting rid of lead pipes and lead pain and replacing windows or fixtures that have been contaminated by lead paint. In a press conference on Thursday, Schumer stated that while lead contaminated water in Flint, Mich., has gotten the most national attention, "our problem is more serious and we've got to do something about it.”
Schumer is also hoping to push for expanded funding within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Home grant. The funding for this program has dropped annually, going from $176 million in 2003 to just $110 million in the most recent federal budget.
“The damage done if you don't do this. How much it costs in health care costs, societal costs, even jailing and prison costs because kids with these deteriorated mental conditions often turn to crime and they can't hold a job."