By Claire Zillman
December 12, 2016

The problem of expensive child care is endemic in the U.S. A new study from Child Care Aware of America found that the cost of center-based infant care exceeds 7% of family income—the U.S. government’s cutoff for affordability—in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

But there is one exception: Louisiana.

What’s the state’s secret? The so-called School Readiness Tax Credits the state rolled out in 2007. The set of tax credits urges parents, providers, and employers to invest in high-quality child care.

Michelle McCready, policy chief at Child Care Aware of America, told me that Louisiana is a standout nationwide and should serve as an example for other states. Even if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promise to deduct child care expenses from working parents’ income taxes and introduce tax-free dependent care savings accounts, that will just scratch the surface of what’s needed to reduce the exorbitant cost of care. On this issue, she says, the U.S. needs “all hands on deck.”



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