Minnesotans would save big with caps on child care costs
Advocates for affordable child care have launched a new tool to help parents figure out what they would be paying for child care if Minnesota tackled runaway costs.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services suggests that families pay no more than 7% of their yearly household income on child care, no matter how many children they have.
In Minnesota, the average family spends 20% of their income on child care — nearly three times higher than the federal suggestion. Research from the Center for American Progress shows that Minnesota is the sixth most expensive state for infant child care, and the second most expensive state for preschool-aged childcare.
Think Small, a Minnesota early education advocacy non-profit, has released an online calculator helping Minnesota families see how much money they’d save on child care per year if the 7% rule becomes law.
“Minnesota has a serious child care affordability crisis on its hands, and parents and children need help as soon as possible. This calculator will tell parents exactly what’s at stake for their household budget in the upcoming legislative debate,” said Ericca Maas from Think Small.
Following the guidance of Gov. Tim Walz’s Great Start Task Force, state Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, DFL-Eden Prairie, and state Sen. Grant Hauschild, DFL-Hermantown, are now crafting a proposal for the 2024 Legislative session in pursuit of the 7% goal for all Minnesotans.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill allocating $52 million towards early education scholarships and grants. Middle class working families who don’t qualify for child care assistance say they are still struggling with affordability.
Jessica Gilder, advocate from the Initiative Foundation, said during a hearing last week of the House Children and Family Finance Policy Committee that the recent direct funding for the child care industry won’t help everyone who needs it.
“My daughter quit her job in the healthcare industry because she struggled to find affordable child care for her infant and toddler. The middle class working families still need better solutions,” Gilder said.
The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the 7% rule would save the average Minnesota family with an infant $10,401 per year, freeing up 32,444 more Minnesotans to work to support their family, and generate $3.7 billion in new economic activity.
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