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We must address the debilitating cost of childcare for Northern Michigan, UP families

Our district’s average monthly cost of childcare is over $700.00 per child – sometimes costing parents half their salary to work and raise children. To reduce poverty, working families deserve relief.

NORTHERN, Mich. — According to Rural Insights, the cost of childcare in six large counties in our district averages $752.04. That is $9,024.48 annually for one child:

“If you are working at a job paying $10 per hour, you make $20,800 a year, and your child care is almost half of your pay before paying your rent and purchasing family food," says David Haynes of RI. "If you make $15 per hour, you make $31,200 a year, and your child care costs would take up almost 30% of your budget.

“Many families with one, two or more children say their child care costs are more than their rental or mortgage payments.

“We hear from many working families... about how childcare is a major issue for them."

The federal child tax credit provided families $3,000 to $3,600 per child since March 2021, but expired January 1st of this year. Some states already have their own child care tax credits, and some states have existing legislation to provide a child care credit–including Michigan.

“The federal and state childcare tax credits have done an excellent job in reducing child poverty in our country," says Haynes.

“Whisperers tell us that our federal government and state leaders need to focus on this issue that is so important to working families. If you are concerned about this issue, you can let your federal and state elected leaders know your opinion.” – Rural Insights, David Haynes []

I support legislative childcare provisions because they support us in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and help us build a better future through the success of our children.

In addition to the child tax credit, we should create childcare and early learning programs for children under six who have not yet started kindergarten.

  • For eligible families who want to participate, this means access to affordable, high-quality childcare in the setting that best meets their needs.

  • For Michigan, it will mean federal funding to support supply-building and a phased-in expansion of income eligibility.

It isn’t free. The programs should be paid by corporate taxes and taxes on those making over $400,000 annually. Reducing poverty, caring for our children, and providing relief to hard-working families is taxpayer money well-spent. We will see significant economic benefits as it helps parents get back to work and pursue more opportunities for their families.

Inaccessible and unaffordable childcare has adverse economic impacts. It causes higher employee absence rates and turnover, postponement of education or training opportunities, reduction of hours, and ultimately, working-parents leaving the workforce. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem.

Reliable access to childcare can generate an additional $79,000 in lifetime earnings for parents. In addition, single parents who receive assistance for childcare payments are nearly 40% more likely to maintain employment over two years than those who do not.

It’s time our district has a leader in Congress working hard for hard-working families. We need quality childcare, healthcare, and education. They need to be paid for and budgeted accordingly. I will work as your Representative in Washington toward a vision for the future that improves the lives of Northern Michiganders and Yoopers.

As for my opponent, I am sure he will disparage these programs without any facts. He will give them false labels and name-call those who support it. So, this is an open invitation — The great people of our district deserve to hear it directly. Let’s debate the merits of the child tax credit, universal PreK, and childcare entitlement programs in a town hall for working families.

Have the courage to look parents in the eye and tell them why you oppose affordable childcare.

Let’s invite independent fact-checkers and open the floor to comments and questions from parents, so you and I can learn how to improve the lives of those we serve.


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