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OPINION: Helping Families Afford Childcare Solves Major NYS Concerns

By Will Barclay

Date:

The new spending plan for New York State [that has an April 1 deadline] 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.

I joined my colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference [on March 11] to unveil “A Blueprint for Childcare (ABC) Plan” — a package of legislative proposals that would save families an average of about $2,300 per year.

Anyone who relies on a daycare provider knows how challenging it is to locate, and pay for, quality childcare options. In New York state, 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, 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 childcare 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 childcare 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 — those 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 childcare are investments in our future generations.

Many families in New York state are struggling to find quality, affordable care for their children. As the state budget [gets finalized], we have an opportunity do something about it.       


William (Will) A. Barclay, 55, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.

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