Capitol Update Week 5

This week in the Iowa House we voted to advance multiple pieces of legislation that aim to address Iowa’s current child care crisis. I am particularly familiar with this issue due to the fact that several of these bills passed through my Ways and Means committee prior to coming to the floor.  The recent pandemic has exposed the importance of accessible affordable quality child care here in Iowa. Access to affordable child care is an issue many of us heard about repeatedly on the campaign trail and it has been a priority of the Governor’s for several years. Now is the time to take action, and that is exactly what the House did this week.  
Aside from a general lack of child care providers in Iowa, another childcare hurdle that the legislature has aimed to address is something called the cliff effect. This occurs when families are receiving financial assistance for child care and their income increases beyond the income threshold for assistance causing them lose all child care assistance. House File 302 aims to provide an “off-ramp” from Child Care Assistance, which will allow state assistance to taper off rather than dropping off at a specific income level. The goal of this legislation is to allow parents to grow in their career without losing their childcare assistance all at once.
The bills in the childcare package passed this week aim to:  
– Increase the income threshold for a Child Care Tax Credit from $45,000 to $90,000.
– Create an incentive for employers to provide child care for their employees by providing a tax credit up to $150,000.  
– Allow individuals providing child care in their homes to take care of 6 or fewer children, an increase from 5 or fewer.  
– Raise Iowa’s child care rates to the 50th percentile according to the Market Rate Survey. – Create an “off-ramp” from Child Care Assistance program so parents can continue to grow in their career without losing their all of their child care assistance at once.
– Create a fund to provide child care workforce grants on a dollar for dollar matching basis from communities. These programs will help move child care providers up the pay scale and the education pathway.
As we all know every Iowan has unique needs when it comes to child care. This package of bills aims to address as many of those needs as possible. This childcare package will now move to the Senate for their approval. Please contact the Senate if you would like to see these issues move to the Governor’s desk.  
If you have interest in any particular bill or would like to know where it is in the process please contact me and I will do my best to try to keep you up to date. You can also follow bills on the legislative website once you know the bill number http://www.legis.iowa.gov.

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