State May Allow Parents to Defer Taxes for Child Care Costs

WKBW-TV Channel 7, Buffalo  |  February 14, 2016

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP/WKBW) - New York may allow the parents of young children to defer a piece of their state taxes to help cover the cost of child care.

The proposal was announced this past week by state Sen. Daniel Squadron and is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The Brooklyn Democrat said in an interview that as the parent of young children, he understands the financial burden it can bring.

Under the legislation, parents could defer up to $2,000 a year to help cover child care costs. They would get up to 10 years to pay the deferred taxes, interest-free, once the child is of school age.

According to Child Care Aware of America, New York State is one of the costliest states for child care. The Empire State ranks as the least affordable state for daycare for four year olds, and the third least affordable for daycare for infants.

The report states that the average cost of daycare centers in New York State is $14,144 for an infant and $11,700 for a four-year-old.

Erie County also has high costs. According to the Child Care Resource Network, one year of daycare at a center is $12,792 a year in Erie County, which is nearly double the cost of one year of tuition for a public four-year college in New York State. There are more than 100,000 children between infancy and age 12 with working parents in Erie County.

For families living at or below the poverty threshold, full-time daycare for one child makes-up at least 70-percent of the family income.

Despite the cost, experts say skimping out for a cheaper education could hurt the child's future.

"Investing in young children at this age is so critically important because of the research that demonstrates that 85 to 90 percent of brain development happens by age 5," said David Voegele. Voegele is the Executive Director at the Early Care & Learning Council in Albany. "When young children do not receive quality care that adequately addresses brain development, they are less likely to be ready for school, ready for life, and ready to be productive members of the community."

The cost of child care is on the rise. According to the Child Care Resource Network, the annual rate of increase in Erie County is $936 per child in care. The organization said that child care has increased due to the cost of complying with regulations, the rising cost of supplies used by programs and efforts to remain competitive with the latest technology and other learning materials.

"An accessible, strong system of child care is a building block of any healthy, thriving community," said Lynn Pullano, the Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit agency.  "The exciting economic progress occurring across Buffalo-Niagara must include high-quality, affordable child care so parents can remain productive in their jobs while their children are well cared for; this is essential in supporting today's workforce and developing future generations of skilled workers."

Pullano said to off-set the rising costs, it has become crucial to, "advocate for continued and increased funding for child care subsidy for low and moderate-income families at the state and federal levels." She added that there also needs to be advocacy for funding for center or home based daycares to improve health, safety and general quality issues.

So far, Senator Squadron's proposal has no opposition.

Watch the full video here.