Norris Announces ‘A Blueprint for Childcare’ Affordability Plan

A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport)

One of the most challenging things parents face is finding affordable child care, which is why I have been working on a comprehensive plan on this essential issue with fellow colleagues. Our plan, “A Blueprint for Childcare,” is a three-prong reimaging of child care in New York with the goals of making day care more affordable for families, helping providers grow and expand their facilities and services and expanding access to early childhood education.

It is essential that children are safe and well cared for while their parents are at work. Compared to previous decades, parents must now rely on day care providers to care for their children while they are at work. According to data in the New York State Child Care Market Rate Survey Report of 2022, these costs can run parents more than $400 a week for an infant at a day care center to $325 a week for children aged 3-5 in a family day care home or group setting. Costs for special needs children are higher. This means a family with two young children could be spending well over $20,000 a year in child care expenses.

To make child care more affordable for families, I am calling for a variety of tax credits that will help parents keep more of their paycheck and save the average family an additional $2,300 per year. For example, our plan to increase the state Earned Income Tax Credit amount from 30% to 45% (A.9258) should save parents a collective $386 million and increasing the Empire State child credit amount to 45% of the federal Child Tax Credit amount (A.9257) should save another $299 million. Additionally, I am calling on the federal government to permanently reinstate the Enhanced Child Tax Credit. On top of that, because we know not every parent works a weekday schedule anymore, our plan will allow providers to increase child care availability to hours outside of the traditional models such as nights and weekends (A.9126).

Because the first eight years of a child’s life are the most critical for their brain development and learning capacity, it is important to me that our plan helps child care providers offer the best services possible for families in our state. This is why our plan creates a new $250 million Child Care Facility Capital Improvement Tax Credit to help child care providers enhance and update facilities (A.9264) and allows local taxing entities the option to offer an exemption from real property taxes to licensed child day care centers further helping providers keep more of their money to invest into their business (A.8579).

And, this is why ensuring greater access to early childhood education is an important part of our plan. My colleagues and I are calling for a Universal Pre-K (UPK) aid increase and program improvements (A.9128) as well as an increase in the state reimbursement rate to school districts for UPK students and expanded collaboration between school districts with child care agencies.

These are the building blocks of our plan as child care is essential and must be made more affordable for hardworking families in order to keep them in our state.