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Small business owners look for child care boost from Congress

The Democratic-led spending package is expected to include more money for child care, but details are still foggy.
Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 11:08 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Caring for your children could soon become less expensive. In a Democrat-led push on Capitol Hill, a $1.75 trillion spending package is expected to include spending for child care. Small business owners are welcoming the possibility.

“Without adequate child care, you’re always going to have problems,” said Anne Zimmerman, who owns an accounting firm with offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Zimmerman said to attract employees and ensure they show up on time, offering parents quality child care is crucial. Zimmerman is welcoming the news that Democrats are looking to subsidize care for working families by raising industry wages and expanding the supply of providers.

“They should invest resources in our future by investing in the children and making sure that they’re not just being cared for but learning and progressing and making a better society for all of us,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said the federal assistance can help level the playing field for small businesses competing with larger corporations already capable of providing child care to employees.

Though details are still being ironed out on Capitol Hill, Democrats say the majority of American families would not have to pay more than seven percent of their income on childcare, compared to current prices that can be twice as high for some. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says though it is a large infusion of federal dollars, it will pay off.

“Not only will this help the economy by allowing moms and dads to go back to work full time, it’ll really help small businesses who can’t afford themselves to provide the child care,” said Raimondo.

The price tag of this package remains way too high for congressional Republicans. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) says he is a firm no on this bill.

“Free things are always popular, it’s trying to figure out how to pay for them,” said Palazzo.

Palazzo argued there are too many giveaways in the wide-ranging spending bill. He believes by sending more federal dollars to families, Democrats are incentivizing people not to work. Palazzo says the private sector already paves the way for quality benefits.

“There’s tax credits for child provided services. This is just purely buying votes,” said Palazzo.

The final draft of the spending bill has not yet been released.

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