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FFYF hosts event with Business Leaders, Reps. Carbajal and Chavez-DeRemer to Talk Tax, Child Care

News September 20, 2023

The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) and Hollis Silverman (founder and owner of Eastern Points Collective) hosted Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), child care experts, employers, and business leaders about ways an improved tax code, when combined with strong federal funding, would help working families access quality, affordable child care while supporting a stable workforce for our nation’s economy. The event followed a letter that 85 organizations, Chambers of Commerce and businesses sent calling on members of Congress to make child care more affordable by updating the U.S. tax code

Reps. Salud Carbajal and Lori Chavez-DeRemer recently introduced a bill to improve these tax credits with H.R. 4571, the Child Care Investment Act of 2023. Their bipartisan bill would enhance the three existing tax credits to address the cost and accessibility of child care for working parents. Below are excerpts from their remarks to attendees: 

Rep. Salud Carbajal: “I’ve been working with Chambers of Commerce in my district, with businesses, and everyone is telling me (child care) is a major issue. They all say if there’s one thing you can do, it’s this. So this isn’t just a women’s issue or just a family issue, it’s a business issue and an economic issue.

“What does our bill do? It takes an already existing tax credit framework and modernizes it. It does what it was intended to do when it was created decades ago, incentivize businesses to provide families the opportunity to have the resources to afford and have access to child care….It’s not a new program. It’s an existing program already in the tax code.”

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer:  “There hasn’t been one time in my district in the past nine months when someone hasn’t raised a hand to say, ‘I’m worried about child care. How do I stay educated or stay in the workforce during my child’s first five years or in the first few months?

“Working across the aisle with Rep. Carbajal was important to me, to not make (child care) into a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is an issue for families, families in America who are struggling. How do we work together to get a bill across the finish line?”

As FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling put it, “Families need help affording and finding the child care they need to go to work. Along with strong federal funding, one step that Congress can take in the right direction is updating the tax code designed to help offset the high cost of child care. It’s commonsense, it’s bipartisan, and there’s a clear path here that lawmakers can take.” 

And as business owner Hollis Silverman said, “I have a mostly female team and, as we know, a lot of things fall on female shoulders when it comes to caregiving. I’ve tried to see what I can do as a business owner and it’s really challenging. … As a business, it’s really easy to make a budget and figure out how to run things. And it’s really hard to figure out child care. So it’s really great to be in a room with people ready to find something that works, like tax credits that work within the system. This industry really needs something like this.”

As we enter the last weeks of the fiscal year, Congress has the opportunity to address America’s child care crisis, including through the tax code. Here are the First Five Things To Know about strengthening and modernizing the parts of the U.S. tax code which allow families and businesses to offset child care costs. 

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