This month Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the “Right Start Child Care and Education Act” which will help to make child care more affordable for working class families. Oregon is notorious for having some of the highest child care costs in the nation 1/. The goal is to amend the Federal tax code to:
--Increase outdated dollar limits on eligible child care expenses for families. This would raise the overall percentage range, the maximum expense amount, and the maximum income one can have to take advantage of the maximum credit (which has also been raised). The bill also increases the maximum amount for employer-provided flexible spending accounts.
--Make child care tax credit fully refundable. The lowest income families are eligible for the tax credits but often only receive a small share of the benefits due to the lack of tax liabilities. This proposal will make the credit refundable to more low-income families and increase benefits for middle income families.
--Provide a tax credit for educated childcare professionals of $2,000 per year for up to three years. To qualify you would need a degree in early childhood education, child care, or a related subject, and are working at licensed child care facility.
--Increase tax credits for businesses that support child care benefits for employees. This proposal increases the tax credit, and also increases the total allowable credit. To read more about this proposal go to: http://usa.childcareaware.org/2019/01/new-child-care-affordability-legislation-introduced/
There is also a fee assistance program proposal for supporting military families that are not able to get on-installation care on the horizon and ensure that the families are mission ready. To read more about this program go do: http://usa.childcareaware.org/2018/12/fee-assistance-programs-serving-supporting-military-families/
1/ “How unaffordable is childcare in Oregon? New report ranks costs.” https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2017/12/childcare_is_really_unaffordab.html
How does childcare relate to Business Expansion and Retention (BRE)? Supporting BRE activities is a key part of the South Coast Development Council, Inc. mission. Obtaining quality childcare is critical for attracting and retaining talent in our community. Investments in childcare provide positive short-term economic stimulus on the broader economy, and have positive long-term effects of increasing effective demand and promoting quality. Childcare is also an important predominantly female-owned small business sector that may not know how to leverage BRE resources. This help includes ways to expand their businesses or relocate to larger venues, developing backup service strategies, retaining and recruiting new employees and solving workforce challenges, attracting donors, utilizing grants, and leveraging other business resources and benefits. Bringing awareness to this sector is one way to help educate the public, attract donors, benefit our future generation of workers, and support our community.