A new ReadyNation study showing the great economic cost of the infant and toddler childcare crisis in the United States reflects the need for more movement by the Legislature on a childcare package of bills authored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz last year, according to NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Alexis Bailey.
“Clearly, this is an issue in New Jersey that urgently needs to be addressed and the Legislature has the chance to make an immediate and substantive impact on this issue through this childcare bill package,” Bailey said. “It’s important that these bills, which include help for businesses, childcare staff and working families, remain a top priority and they advance to Governor Murphy’s desk.”
The ReadyNation study finds that the economic cost of the childcare crisis in the United States has doubled to more than $122 billion, impacting businesses, the working parents they employ, and ultimately taxpayers in terms of lost tax revenue.
The breakdown includes $78 billion in lost parental income, $23 billion in lost business output, and $21 billion in lost tax revenue for a total economic loss of $122 billion.
In 2018, the total U.S. economic impact was less than half that amount ($57 billion), underscoring how much the pandemic has exacerbated the infant and toddler childcare crisis.
More can be found about the report here.
Last spring, Sen. Ruiz unveiled a comprehensive nine-bill childcare bill package, supported by NJBIA, that aims to address the needs of those who make up the state’s childcare infrastructure.
Only one bill has been enacted thus far. S-2476 provides funding for the expansion of infant and toddler seats by 1,000, with a grant program prioritizing providers in communities identified as childcare deserts, areas with high percentage low-income families and those that align their childcare center with high quality preschool.
Here are the other bills that are still currently pending before the Legislature.
- S-2475 – Ruiz/Cunningham: The bill would establish the Department of Early Childhood to provide focused and integrated development of 0 to 5 care and education.
- S-2477 – Ruiz/Cruz-Perez: The bill would require new preschool programs or seat expansions to use private providers for at least 50% of their preschool slots.
- S-2478 – Ruiz/Vitale: The bill would extend the enrollment-based payment model currently set to expire on June 30, 2022. The bill would extend the program for three years, with a report on the impact at the end of this year and the end of the three years.
- S-2479 – Ruiz: The bill would provide tax incentives to employers who provide childcare in their facilities, reimburse parents for their childcare expenses or contract with private providers so their employees can enroll their children in those childcare programs.
- S-1099 – Vitale/Ruiz: The bill allows a gross income tax credit for childcare staff members who have been employed by a childcare provider or worked as a registered family day care provider for a minimum of 1,260 hours for a six-month period during the taxable year.
- S-2480 – Ruiz/Vitale: The bill would extend childcare subsidies to families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty line. Currently, families earning up to 250% FPL are eligible.
- S-2465 – Vitale/Ruiz: The bill would require the Department of Human Services to establish a quality-based reimbursement system for registered family day care providers participating in Grow NJ Kids.