Childcare Bill Takes Different Approach from RAND Report

Senate leaders introduced a long-awaited 107 page childcare bill. However, the bill introduced does not follow the investments listed in the recently released RAND Report. With only six weeks until the crossover deadline, the cost and potential funding sources remain unknown. The Vermont Chamber continues to advocate for solutions to increase childcare availability by focusing on the underlying workforce concerns that exacerbate the issue. 

Namely, this bill would establish a universal public prekindergarten education program for 4-year-olds, a solution that limits costs and opens spots in centers for the harder to find infant and toddler population. For private childcare providers that rely on the less expensive older preschool students to balance the more costly infant and toddler care, the impacts remain unknown. In theory, if this age group shifts away from private providers, this program could allow more spots to open for younger children and alleviate the waitlists of providers.  

The Senate Finance Committee reviewed childcare financing options this week with the Joint Fiscal Office and echoed many Vermont Chamber advocacy points. Key among them was that proposals such as the Child Tax Credit cannot be considered in a vacuum and must be looked at in the context of all taxes that businesses are already shouldering and are being proposed to be added this year. Last session, committee members cautioned that the tax cut for families that didn’t directly impact the cost of childcare would likely impact the ability to tackle childcare costs this year. Additional childcare bills are expected to be introduced in the weeks ahead.  

The Vermont Chamber is continuing to collect information on how the proposed childcare payroll tax would impact businesses and their employees. If you or your business and employees would be impacted, please complete this survey.