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Gov. Dayton Seeks Major Expansion of Child Care Tax Credit

PHOTO: Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a $100 million expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which would increase the number of eligible families from 38,000 to 130,000. Photo courtesy Gov. Dayton's office.
PHOTO: Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a $100 million expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which would increase the number of eligible families from 38,000 to 130,000. Photo courtesy Gov. Dayton's office.
January 21, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Some help with covering the cost of child care could be coming for many of Minnesota's middle-class working families.

A proposal unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Mark Dayton would expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to extend eligibility to 92,000 more families.

Among the supporters is Chad Dunkley, president of the Minnesota Child Care Association, who noted that child-care costs here are among the highest in the nation.

"The people who suffer most are those who are middle-income because those families are often priced out of high quality," he said. "So, we are excited to see this. This is long overdue."

In Minnesota, the average cost for center-based child care is around $11,000 a year. Dunkley, chief executive of New Horizon Academy, said easing that financial burden would allow more families access to higher-quality early childhood programs. He called that "the best investment the state can make for the future."

"We know that 90 percent of the brain develops before (age) 5," he said. "We know that children are developing skills that will last a lifetime at a very young age. And if they're in the right environment with the right teachers, resources and curriculum, children do far better the rest of their lives. So this is a wonderful proposal, and these families need help."

Under the governor's proposal, the average eligible family would receive a tax credit of nearly $500 per year for child care or for dependent care for a family member who's older or living with a disability. Proposal details of the plan are at mn.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN