GMNP voices concerns about child care tax credit bill

Scott McMahon, a lobbyist for the GMNP and our sister organization the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities,  testified in the House Tax Committee on Thursday about concerns over a proposal for several new child care tax credits and their limited benefit to families and providers in Greater Minnesota.

HF 1034, authored by Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL-Minnetonka), would provide a tax credit to families who enroll their children in child care providers who are rated in the state’s Parent Aware quality rating system. It would also provide a per enrollee credit for providers  for enrolling children from high-risk groups, such as children who are homeless, in protective service or whose parents are under 21 years of age. Again, the credit is tied to the Parent Aware system.

McMahon testified that although the CGMC supports using tax policy as a way of eliminating the child care crisis in Greater Minnesota, the Parent Aware system is not well established in our communities. Statewide, 48 percent of child care centers are Parent Aware rated, compared to only 14 percent of family care providers. Given that two-thirds of licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota are family care providers, few of our families and providers would benefit from this proposal.

The testimony sparked a lively discussion from the committee about the need to make sure tax policies work across the state, and the need for the state to invest in efforts like the CGMC’s child care policies, which will help grow Parent Aware in Greater Minnesota.

The bill was tabled at the end of the hearing. If the bill proceeds, we plan to continue to work with Rep. Pryor to find ways to make the proposal work better for Greater Minnesota communities.