Photo via Stephanie Murphy/Facebook
Today, Florida congresswoman Stephanie Murphy introduced a bipartisan bill that could make child care more affordable for lower income and middle class families.
The Promoting Affordable Care for Everyone (PACE) Act
, which was introduced by Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Ky., and Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla, will give families of four making under $15,000 per year an annual refund of up to $3,000 to assist with paying for childcare, and a middle class family of four making $55,000 per year would receive $900 more per year to help pay for childcare.
The PACE Act will also help the CDCTC rates and FSAs keep pace with inflation.
As it currently stands, the CDCTC doesn't benefit low-income working parents. A family of four making under $15,000 receives no CDCTC benefit, and a family of four making $55,000 per year receives a benefit of only $1,200.
"Oftentimes, a parent is forced to leave the workforce or cut back on working hours to care for their child just to avoid paying for expensive child care, Murphy said in a statement. "By modernizing and increasing the value of existing tax benefits designed to offset the cost of child care, the PACE Act will help to put high-quality child care and early education within reach for more families."
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are intended to alleviate these steep costs, but Murphy and Yoder feel that they need to be updated.
Florida is one of multiple states where child care is almost double the cost of housing and in-state tuition rates
at a four-year public college. A 2015 study
conducted by Child Care Aware of America found a year of child-care for an infant costs about $8,694 while a year of tuition and fees at a Florida university totals an average of $6,351.
Murphy is a representative of Florida's District 7, which covers all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park and the University of Central Florida.