Assembly GOP Bill Package Would Increase Availability, Reduce Costs of Child Care

Legislative Gazette photo by Nayise Gonzalez
Assemblyman Will Barclay stands at the podium joined by Assemblyman Ed Ra (left) and Assemblyman Josh Jensen (right) in support of legislation that would bolster childcare access and affordability in New York State.

On Monday March 11, Assembly Republicans introduced an “Affordable Blueprint for Childcare.” 

The proposed legislation would expand access to early childcare education, create more affordability, increase the number of childcare providers, and increase tax incentives for childcare providers and families. 

The Republican Conference stressed they believe childcare is not a Democrat or Republican issue, but a collective concern for all New Yorkers. 

While no bill in this proposed legislation has been picked up in the Senate, the legislation has many co-sponsors supporting it within the Assembly. 

There is an affordability crisis for day care statewide. 

Assemblyman Matt Slater, R-Yorktown, noted that paying child care for his own two children was like taking a second mortgage on his home. 

“Fact of the matter is, we were paying a second mortgage for day care,” Slater said. 

The first thing this legislation will be doing is trying to uncover the issues established in the system currently (A.8969) and to alleviate some of the cost for families (A.9220), (A.9257), (A.9242). In total the conference believes their legislation could save the average family in New York State around $2,300 a year, which for some is desperately needed. 

“The cost of childcare is three times higher than what can reasonably be afforded” said Assemblyman Edward Ra, R-Franklin Square. Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski  stated that childcare averages $16,000 a year for New York State parents, which is the sixth highest in the nation. 

“It was easier for me to stay home and live on the system, than it was for me to go and work a full time job” says Kaysie Horwedel, mother of three who was invited to speak about her struggle finding affordable childcare. Even with a college degree Horwedel doesn’t bring home $1,000 a week, which is what she was spending on daycare for all three children. 

The Assembly Republican bills would also expand the learning tools and facilities at childcare properties, along with increasing the number of providers for those facilities. 

Creating a list of providers for day care facilities to use in case of emergencies is a crucial step to help the already stressed and understaffed providers (A.6071). 

“When you set up a child for success, you help remove them from the cycle of poverty,” said Horwedel. A lot of facilities do not have the adequate resources to make each child with individual needs equally cared for especially when it comes to learning objectives. Part of this legislation is specifically incentivizing providers to update facilities (A.9264), (A.9245).

Another important step in helping parents find care for their children is the advancement of normal day care hours to create non-traditional hours for parents and guardians who may not work the traditional nine-to-five job (A.9126). 

Lastly the bill will tackle childcare affordability for not only the parents but also the facilities that are providing the care by using tax incentives and establishing the use of learning pod and pre-kindergarten education, (A.9202), (A.8579), (A.9128). 

The expansion of collaboration requirements for Universal Pre-kindergarten Aid (UPK) will hopefully increase the number of students that these programs can serve. 

“One of the happiest days my wife and I had was when we had UPK come into town,” joked Assemblyman Josh Jensen, R-Greece. “If we don’t offer child care options for working parents, we have an entire aspect of our economy that’s off limits to those who don’t have people to keep their children safe.” Creating a safe place that parents can entrust their children to be therefore being able to work and be a part of the economy is an incredibly important task.

 Assemblyman Ra calls on the federal government to reinstate enhanced tax credit, that would expand and increase the earned income tax credit to 45% of a taxpayer’s federal earned income tax credit (A.9258). This would in turn incentivize taxpayers to keep working.