With Congress expected to tackle tax reform when it returns to Washington after Labor Day, a freshman Democrat from the Sunshine State called for improving tax benefits for child care.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, to unveil the “Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act.” The proposal would update the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Under Yoder’s and Murphy’s proposal, the CDCTC would be refundable and move the top rate up to 35 percent to 50 percent depending on the family’s income level. The proposal would also raise the amount families can put into Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts from $5,000 to $7,500.
Yoder made his case for the bill this week.
“Paying for quality, affordable care for young children is one of the most important line items on every working family’s budget,” Yoder said. “These days it’s become a larger and larger number, making it more and more difficult for families to find the right solutions, and in some cases even creating a disincentive for both parents to enter the workforce. As we work to reform our tax code in Congress, we’re working on ways to help Americans keep more of their hard-earned money and grow our economy so they can take home even more of it.
“That’s where the PACE Act comes in,” Yoder continued. “We’re modernizing the way the tax code treats childcare expenses by improving access to the childcare tax credit and flex spending accounts. More Americans will be able to pay for the cost of childcare, which means more Americans in the workforce helping our economy grow. It means more opportunity and more prosperity for the families who are the backbone of this country.”
“Raising a family is a blessing, but the rising cost of living has made it far too difficult for working and middle-class families to afford high-quality child care—that’s why the bipartisan legislation we introduced today is so important,” said Murphy. “Oftentimes, a parent is forced to leave the workforce or cut back on working hours to care for their child just to avoid paying for expensive child care. By modernizing and increasing the value of existing tax benefits designed to offset the cost of child care, the PACE Act will help to put high-quality child care and early education within reach for more families.”
Elanna Yalow, the CEO of KinderCare Early Learning Programs, went to bat for the proposal.
“The PACE Act will go a long way in assisting more working families afford the childcare their family needs,” Yalow said. “Modernizing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts as the PACE Act does will provide critical enhancements desperately needed by today’s low and middle-income working families in affording the quality childcare that parents both want and expect for their children.”
Yoder and Murphy both cited stats showing a family earning $55,000 annually would receive an additional $900 in credits if their proposal passed. Murphy’s office noted “only 30 percent of Florida families can afford infant care” which costs, on average, more than $8,600 in the Sunshine State.