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Jason Puckett: Childcare tax credits in Alabama good for business, great for parents

The business community is united in believing that expanding access to quality, affordable child care is essential to alleviate some of the burden caused by the skilled labor shortage we are experiencing today.

Parents currently make up 35% of the workforce in Alabama, and we know that when parents have access to high-quality, affordable child care, employers benefit by reducing absenteeism and lost productivity, improving employee retention and increasing the skilled workforce.

In 2022, nearly 85,000 hardworking Alabama families needed child care but didn't have quality, affordable options in their area. That number is likely to continue to grow as Alabama's job growth outpaces child care availability. The average weekly cost of infant and toddler care in Alabama is $139 in 2021, which equates to about $556 per month and $6,672 per year.

That equates to 12% of the annual income of a median-income ($55,000) household with children. State-level policies can encourage the expansion of child care, support Alabama's growing economy, and get Alabamians back to work.

A key bill introduced by Representative Anthony Daniels and Senator Garlan Gudger would create the Alabama Child Care Tax Credit, expanding access to child care for working families and providing tax incentives to employers and child care providers who are committed to improving the quality of child care.

This bill would provide a tax credit to employers of any size that offer child care benefits to their employees, helping Alabama families keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.

Encouraging employers to offer child care benefits would undoubtedly increase access to child care, encourage parental labor force participation, and increase parental income. There are 210,000 working-age parents who are not working, of whom 80,000 have young children who need child care.

Improving access to child care and closing the supply gap of more than 85,000 children in need of child care is estimated to increase Alabama’s labor force participation rate by 3 percent, which would mean adding 66,000 additional Alabamians to the workforce and boosting our economy.

“Toyota believes child care is a vital resource for working parents in Alabama, especially mothers entering or re-entering the workforce. This tax credit will increase access to child care, ensuring a stronger workforce and stimulating the economy.”

“This bill will benefit the entire child care ecosystem while also addressing current affordability, quality and accessibility challenges. By supporting this bill, we will grow Alabama's vibrant economy and help put Alabamians back to work.

Please help support Alabama’s child care tax credit bill so Alabama parents can contribute to our state’s desperately needed workforce.

Jason Puckett is president of Toyota Alabama.

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