Prominent Senators ReIntroduce The ‘Right Start Child Care and Education Act of 2019’’
Politicians often generalize about the need to improve both access and quality of early education and care, but are often light on specifics. Therefore, it is important that we give special attention when we do get specific legislation. The ‘Right Start Child Care and Education Act of 2019’’ was reintroduced in the senate recently by New Hampshire Democrat Senator, Jeanne Shaheen and cosponsored by three other Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Here is the full text of the proposed bill
It is important to note that Kristen Gillibrand has already announced a presidential campaign and many speculate that Amy Klobuchar may soon follow suit. This means the “Right Start Child Care and Education Act of 2019’’ has a chance to get publicity since Gillibrand and Klobuchar might make it a part of their presidential platforms.
But what is in the Bill? One key provision is related to the The Dependent and Child Care Tax Credit. The Bill would double the Dependent and Child Care Tax Credit from $3000 to $6000 and make child care credit fully refundable. This would benefit families who have lower incomes the most. Another key component is the bill would incentives employers to create on sight sight child care facilities by increasing the tax reduction employers get for creating on sight child care from 25 percent to 35 percent of the cost of creating these facilities.
Of most interest to early educators might be section 4 of the bill which is headlined “3-YEAR CREDIT FOR INDIVIDUALS HOLDING CHILD CARE-RELATED DEGREES WHO WORK IN LICENSED CHILD CARE FACILITIES”
This section would give those who majored in ECE or a related field a $2,000 tax credit for three years if they are working more than 1200 hours in a child care facility that year.
While these incremental steps could increase the number of child care providers (especially centers based inside large employers) and might get more people majoring in early education and staying in the field, these still seem like putting small band aids on bigger systematic wounds. For instance, full tuition reimbursement and or full loan forgiveness would go much further to encourage people to major in early childhood education and stay in the field than tax credits. That being said, the tax credits in this bill could lay the foundation for future initiatives if the bill is passed and proves successful. While there is bipartisan support for early education, the fact that Republicans control the senate means this bill has an uphill battle to passage.