New Legislative Proposal Makes Child Care More Affordable

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer

October 17, 2018

Senator Ranzenhofer's column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bees on October 17th

Child care is an increasingly necessary part of raising children in today’s economy, especially with many, if not most, households relying on two incomes to support a family. Child care is a major expense for parents, and rising child care costs are a major financial burden for many Western New York families.

In fact, child care costs have increased for the past five years. According to a recent Care.com study, one in three families spends twenty percent of their annual income on child care, and child care expenses represent a quarter or more of household income for one out of every five families. 

After asking more than 1,000 parents nationwide about child care spending, the survey also determined that the average weekly cost for an infant child is $211 for a day-care center.

That is why I am authoring legislation (S7815) in the State Senate to expand New York’s Child & Dependent Tax Credit. 

Under my proposal, most families would receive an estimated new average credit of $750, an increase of $375 from last year. In total, this child credit expansion would provide $225 million in new relief for middle-class families. 

My legislation would double the existing cap on child care expenses from $3,000 to $6,000 for one child; $6,000 to $12,000 for two children; $7,500 to $15,000 for three children; $8,500 to $17,000 for four children; and $9,000 to $18,000 for five or more children. If enacted, taxpayers would be able to take advantage of the increased limits in 2019.

Under existing law, taxpayers are eligible to claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help offset the costs of caring for a child under the age of 13, a disabled spouse or a disabled dependent. The expense amount allowed toward the credit is limited at various levels depending on the number of children.

This legislation has received bi-partisan support in the State Senate, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee sponsors it in the State Assembly. 

The legislation passed the State Senate in June. Unfortunately, the State Assembly failed to advance the bill before the end of this year’s Legislative Session.

The legislation builds upon my efforts, during the 2017 Legislative Session, to provide $47 million in new relief for middle-class families, with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000, to assist them with these high costs. 

As your State Senator, I’m working to put our families first. Doubling tax relief for child care costs will make it more affordable to raise a family in New York State. As always, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my efforts.