Yesterday, Governor Josh Shapiro joined legislative leaders, York County Economic Alliance, and Community Connections for Children at YWCA York to highlight the recent expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit impacting over 7,000 families here in York County, and over 210,000 families across Pennsylvania. As part of the visit, they discussed the importance of investing in, and expanding access to, high quality childcare options for York County’s workforce.
Under previous law, Pennsylvania would match only 30 percent of the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Now, thanks to this new bipartisan legislation signed into law by Governor Shapiro in December, the state credit will match 100 percent of the federal credit, helping Pennsylvania families offset more of the burden of rising childcare costs in the Commonwealth.
“Expanding the child and dependent care tax credit is an economic competitive advantage. It benefits our neighbors, coworkers, family members, working families across the commonwealth and York County. Expanding access to affordable, high-quality childcare is important to our Commonwealth’s economic future,” stated Kevin Schreiber, President & CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.
“Governor Shapiro, you have laid down the challenge here in Pennsylvania to expand access to affordable, high-quality childcare. You have been so bold as to directly link childcare to our state’s economic competitiveness and with the passage of the child and dependent care tax credit. You’ve taken a big step forward for Pennsylvania,” said Schreiber. “And here in York County, we are doing our part to make great strides. Joined by partners WellSpan Health, J. William Warehime Foundation, Powder Mill Foundation, United Way of York County, The Kinsley Foundation, and York County Community Foundation, we are proud to report we’ve raised annually over $3M to launch a new early childhood education initiative in York County, Every Child Has Opportunities, known as ECHO.”
Led by Community Connections for Children and York County Economic Alliance, ECHO will serve as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration and provides a blueprint for addressing the issues that limit opportunities for children, families, and early childhood educators and business owners. Last month, Katie Caples was named ECHO Director. This comes in direct response to the crisis in early childhood education we face as a community, a Commonwealth, and a Nation. In 2020, pre-pandemic, York County had 221 early childhood education providers. In three years, that number dropped to 170. Those that survived the pandemic are operating on average at 85% of typical enrollment due to teacher and workforce shortages. Early childhood education program waitlists average 50-75 children, and many have stopped adding to their lists.
Pennsylvania suffers a $3.47 billion impact due to childcare issues in lost tax revenue and employer costs. And 54% of employers in PA said one of the most significant reasons they lost employees was due to childcare issues. According to American Progress, in Pennsylvania, 57 percent of all residents live in a childcare desert, defined as an area where there are more than three times as many children as licensed childcare slots.
Early childhood education impacts multiple generations, the current adult workforce, and the future workforce. To tackle the issue head-on, ECHO will unitize a strategic and targeted approach, addressing immediate, crisis issues while developing solutions to long-term, chronic issues. With the expansion of Pennsylvania’s Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the launch of Every Child Has Opportunities, we will continue to positively impact and directly benefit working families across York County.
“We have a GSD attitude in my Administration – we get stuff done. One of the reasons I enjoy coming here so much is because York County really has its act together,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “You have leadership at the state and local level, county and mayor, working together. You have the local chamber working together with government. You’ve got labor and business working in sync. In short, York County gets the importance of partnership to get big things done. We have seen YCEA and their partners, including the ECHO initiative, recognize the importance of partnership and delivering for our families. They’re putting skin in the game. Working to recruit and retain childcare workers and preschool teachers. I’m grateful for the partnership and leadership at every level.”
For more information about the Childcare and Dependent Care Tax Credit, visit pa.gov/childcaretaxcredit.