Childcare, in many parts of the country, is now as expensive as attending college.
Senator Angus King has come up with a plan that aims to make day care more affordable for low-income families.
“We do the child subsidy program so we pay a portion and child subsidy pays for the other half,” said Ronco.
“And that enables you to pull it off?” asked King, (I) Maine.
“Yes, most definitely.”
Tim Campbell and Kristina Ronco have four children, one of which attends the Educare Central Maine early learning center in Waterville. Their other three children also went to Educare for the high quality of education taught to children from birth to age five.
“They have four children- $400 a week just for childcare,” said King.
That’s what they would have been forced to pay had it not been for the child subsidy program.
“You’d just be working to have someone watch your child,” said Campbell.
“That’s $10 an hour right there so people are having to make the decision of whether it’s worth going to work or should they just stay home? But the problem is we need workers in Maine. Virtually every business I visit tells me that their number one problem is finding qualified workers,” said King.
Senator Angus King toured the Educare facility and got the chance to speak with families about the high costs of day care and to discuss his proposed bill.
“Childcare is now almost as expensive as college and so there’s a federal program called a tax credit. The problem is the tax credit only works if you’re paying a sufficient amount of taxes,” said King.
But if the family is below a certain level of income, he says the credit isn’t useful. His bill would increase the value of the credit as well as make the credit refundable to expand its reach to low-income working parents.
He says this will allow Maine families to get the childcare they require without sacrificing the valuable workforce our state is need of.