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February 12, 2024

King, Shaheen Introduce Legislation to Make Child Care More Affordable, Bolster Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced a bill to make child care more affordable and accessible for working families. With Maine’s child care shortage estimated to cost its economy hundreds of millions of dollars, the Right Start to Child Care and Education Act would help cut child care costs by increasing the amount of tax-free money Maine families can save through dedicated flexible spending accounts, and expanding employer-provided and small business child care credits. The bill also creates a new tax credit for child care professionals with college degrees to help address a workforce shortage.

“Affordable and accessible child care is one of the most pressing needs for working families in Maine and across the nation,” said Senator King. “The Right Start Child Care and Education Act would increase the childcare workforce, incentivize businesses to provide affordable child care for their employees, and increase the amount of money families can save, tax-free, to pay for child care. When families have access to care, they are able to succeed both at home and in their professional careers. Child care is more than a household priority; child care means business!”

“I've visited child care centers across New Hampshire, and the feedback I’ve heard is the same in all corners of the state: child care is vital to our workforce, families and the overall economic success of our communities,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Right Start Child Care and Education Act would make important reforms to our tax code to promote and increase access to high-quality child care as well as support early education professionals, ensuring affordable and high quality child care options are available for families everywhere.”

Senator King has long worked to expand access to child care and reduce the workforce shortage in the critical sector. He secured millions to improve child care services in the 2022 and 2023 omnibus appropriations bills, and worked to authorize the planning and development of a new child development center at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He is also the cosponsor of the recently-introduced Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement Act, which would permanently expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit that helps households offset their child care costs.

Full bill text is available here.


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