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L.I. Congressman Wants Bigger Child Care Tax Deduction For Working Families

Rep. Steve Israel Says Current Law Discriminates Against New Yorkers
Congressman Steve Israel is calling for tax code reform to allow all working parents the same deduction for child care expenses. (credit: CBS 2)

Congressman Steve Israel is calling for tax code reform to allow all working parents the same deduction for child care expenses. (credit: CBS 2)

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GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new proposal to put more of the money you spend on child care back in your wallet.

It is being spearheaded by a Long Island congressman, who calls current rules “unfair.”

Amy Gretchyn drops her two little girls at child care before she heads to work as a librarian. She needs the income, but said the cost of child care is daunting.

“Basically half of my monthly salary goes to day care,” Gretchyn told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

It’s hard enough to make ends meet, but add in day care costs, and working moms said it is overwhelming.

“You’re trying to clothe your kids, you’re trying to feed your kids, you’re trying to provide everything you possibly can. It’s next to impossible.” said working mom Vanessa Burrowes.

Now at tax time, some moms can only deduct a tiny fraction of their child care costs.

Parents who earn under $43,000 a year, can deduct 35 percent of child care. Parents who earn more can only deduct 20 percent, up to $1,200.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” said Gretchyn

Congressman Steve Israel said tax law discriminates against New Yorkers with the highest cost child care in the nation.

It cost more than $14,000 per year for infant care in New York, which is more than three times what it costs in Mississippi, which is about $4,591. Those numbers come from the National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies.

Israel is calling for tax code reform — A Dependent Care Fairness Act. He said “$1,200 in 2013 barely covers the cost of diapers.”

“So it is unfair for the federal government to say if you making under $43,000, you get double what a middle class family earns,” Israel said.

The bill would offer the same deduction to all working parents. The owner of child care center “Kids by the Bunch” said it is much-needed.

“We have families that are having two, sometimes even three jobs just to make the ends meet,” said Jonathan Turman.

The bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives this week. It’s too late to affect tax bills this year, but working families said they’ll take the help as soon as they can get it.

The bill would double the tax deduction for dependent care up to $6,000.

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