States Raised Taxes For Access to Free Childcare

( – A new city-funded program for low-income families is helping parents find free childcare for their young children. The program, called City Seats, has been implemented in multiple states and funded by raising taxes, but families are showing gratitude for the program.

Derricka Richard is a mom who felt stuck when finding childcare she could afford. She had trouble finding childcare for her three youngest children as prior programs told her that she “didn’t work enough.” She found some assistance when this program was announced, which helped her enroll her three children in childcare.

According to Richards the program “ paved the way for me to go to school.” She said that it “changed her life.” Last year, New Orleans added one thousand more spots for children on the program after voters approved a property tax increase.

In Texas, voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing tax relief for qualifying childcare providers. With this, cities and counties could exempt childcare centers from paying all or some of their property taxes.

Diane Girouard, a senior state policy analyst with Child Care Aware said, “In the past, we saw more of these local or state-driven initiatives focusing on pre-K, but over the last three years, we’ve seen voters approve ballot measures to invest in child care and early learning.”

Experts are recognizing the impact of the pandemic and how many parents had to switch up their schedules or miss work because of their lack of childcare. Many parents are still experiencing a childcare crisis in states that don’t have these programs set up or areas where childcare is slim for low-income parents.

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