State Sen. Jennifer Shilling
Press Release

Cost of child care skyrockets

Democrats propose plan to ease costs, expand economic opportunity

By - Feb 3rd, 2017 10:21 am

MADISON – Ensuring parents have access to affordable and quality childcare remains a top priority for Democrats as the 2017-18 legislative session gets underway. To help make child care more affordable for families, Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) are introducing legislation that would create a targeted child care income tax credit. This bill is supported by several Democratic leaders including Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse).

“As child care costs continue to rise and wages remain stagnant, working parents are struggling to make ends meet,” said Sen. Shilling. “With more dual-income households, modern families need workplace policies that will help ensure flexibility and enable businesses to be more competitive. A tax credit to make quality child care more affordable for Wisconsin families will help strengthen and expand our workforce.”

According to a report from Child Care Aware America, rising child care costs exceed the costs of housing, transportation and food for many families. At roughly $1000 a month, the average cost of infant care is more per year than in-state tuition at one of Wisconsin’s public universities.

“Whether I’m at the school bus stop, gas station or the local grocery store, one of the biggest frustrations I hear from parents are rising child care costs,” added Shilling. “If we want families to succeed, we need to focus on policies that will boost our middle class and ensure working moms and dads have access to high quality, affordable child care.”

This proposal is part of a broad effort by Democrats to strengthen the middle class. Additional Democratic proposals seek to expand access to health care, student loan debt relief, and paid family and sick leave.

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6 thoughts on “Cost of child care skyrockets”

  1. Ben says:

    FYI: There already is a child care tax credit. So this is nothing new.

    If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    That’s great Ben but even with that child care remains insanely, prohibitively expensive. Do you know what the annual cost is for one child to attend day care?

  3. Tom D says:

    Ben is there REALLY a 35% tax credit for child care? As I understand it, the 35% credit is absolutely unobtainable—a fiction.

    Here’s why (using 2016 tax rates):

    A single mother with one child can file as “head of household” ($9,300 standard deduction) with $8,100 in personal exemptions, which means she pays no federal income tax unless wages (and adjusted gross income) exceed $17,400, yet the 35% tax credit is only available when your AGI is under $15,000 (above $15,000, it’s less than 35%). And since the child care credit is “non-refundable,” it is worthless to anybody who makes too little to pay federal income tax.

    So, how can ANYBODY actually get benefit of the 35% federal child care tax credit?? Are my tax calculations wrong?

  4. Ben says:

    I’m not trying to argue the details of the child care tax credit, but rather state that one already exists.

    Is there really a 35% tax credit – of course there is, it’s just not completely pertinent though, because those who make under $15,000 a year aren’t paying taxes anyway.

    But families making over $43,000 per year are still eligible for a 20% tax credit on up to $6,000 of child care expense. $1,200.00

    Child care prices are drastically rising – no doubt. What would be the impact if minimum wage for child care workers went to $15.00 per hour? Child care prices are going to rise even more!

  5. Tim says:

    Ben, thanks for chiming in and informing the few people that were unaware there is an existing federal child care credit.

    Tom, thank you for asking… is it working?

    I don’t know see the existing child care credit working well for middle class people… let alone those with less. Any solutions?

    It seems Jennifer Shilling is at least looking to add a WI child care credit, anyone else?

  6. Ben says:


    The state already has numerous subsidies set up for low wage earners. Actually, you don’t even need to be “poor” to get a piece of the action.

    Anyway, a few examples:
    Wisconsin Shares Program
    Caretaker Supplement

    And then, through government mismanagement, we open up society to more potential scandals.

    Did we all really forget the child care scandals of just a few years ago?

    And why is okay to provide tax cuts for low income earners with kids and discriminate against the low wage earners without kids? Shouldn’t those low wage earners get some free money whether they have kids or don’t have kids?

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