Helping Families Afford Child Care Solves A Major Concerns in New York State

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

The April 1st deadline to finalize the 2024-25 State Budget is quickly approaching, and our new spending plan should be crafted to deliver economic growth and financial relief for all New Yorkers. Unfortunately, recent budgets have spent far too much and provided far too little in the way of meaningful fiscal relief for hardworking families.

This week, I joined my colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference to unveil “A Blueprint for Childcare (ABC) Plan,” a package of legislative proposals that would save families an average of approximately $2,300 a year.

Anyone who relies on a daycare provider knows how challenging it is to locate, and pay for, quality childcare options. In New York, the average annual cost of infant care is getting more cumbersome every year, and currently stands at about $15,000 per year. During a press conference at the Capitol this week, we were fortunate to be joined by a working single mother with three young children in daycare. She courageously told her personal story of trying to manage a household budget with childcare expenses running $1,000 a week, and the struggle to pay for food, utilities and other necessities under the weight of daycare expenses.

Our proposal aims to make child care more affordable through tax incentives, expanded access to education and enhanced provider options. Among some of the many initiatives in the plan are a boost in the child tax credits, expansion of the Universal Pre-K program and regional investments to help offset high childcare costs.

Helping families control child care costs creates a win-win-win environment for families, businesses and the state. By reducing this fiscal burden, single parents, multi-income families and parents working irregular hours will have more opportunities to earn. This will help address gaps in the labor market still lingering from the pandemic, and in turn, the earned income will offset costs for social services—services that eat up a large chunk of tax dollars—that many single parents rely upon.

Above all else, the “ABC Plan” helps New York’s children. Ensuring and expanding access to high-quality childcare offers more kids safe settings and learning environments during the most critical stages of development. Cutting costs and improving facilities are goals we should strive to attain. But investments in child care are investments in our future generations.

As we continue to engage in discussions about our state’s spending priorities, I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to consider the value of a bold investment in childcare services. Many families in New York are struggling to find quality, affordable care for their children. As the state budget takes shape, we have an opportunity do something about it. I look forward to continuing discussions about this proposal in the coming months and weeks.