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Presidential candidates weigh in on child-care policy direction

Posted September 20

Donald Trump last week released his child-care policy recommendations. Hillary Clinton released hers earlier in the campaign. Here's what they advocate:

According to The Guardian's As It Happened column, "Trump unveiled his plans for government tax subsidies for childcare on Tuesday alongside his daughter Ivanka. Trump’s plan would allow childcare expenses to be tax-deductible for all individuals making under $250,000, up to the average cost of childcare in that person’s state, as well as expanding rebates for those who do not pay income taxes, through the earned income tax credit. His campaign declined to explain how this would be paid for, saying only that it would be part of a comprehensive tax reform and economic plan which would be revenue neutral."

"The Trump reforms will allow a family to make the choice of whether a parent should work outside the home or not without bias from the tax code. Having employed and empowered thousands of women at every level throughout his entire career, Donald Trump understands the needs of the modern workforce," according to a news announcement from the Trump-Pence campaign.

The campaign-provided details, including creation of "Dependent Care Savings Accounts (DCSAs) so that families can set aside extra money to foster their children's development and offset elder care for their parents or adult dependents. These new accounts are available to everyone, and allow both tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation year-to-year — unlike current law Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which are available only if it is offered by an employer and does not allow balances to accumulate."

It said that accounts set up for care of a minor "can be applied to traditional child care, after-school enrichment programs and school tuition — contributing to school choice. To help lower-income parents, the government will match half of the first $1,000 deposited per year."

Elder-care DCSA plans, it said, could cover a range of services that include nursing care at home as well as long-term care.

A Time.com article noted that "Trump announced his childcare plan as Clinton is taking a short break from the campaign trail to recover from pneumonia. He also said Clinton 'has no childcare plan’; she unveiled an ambitious child care plan in May that includes 12 weeks of paid family leave (available to both parents), aims to cap childcare costs at 10 percent of a family’s income and proposes subsidized early childcare."

Politico reported in May that besides "proposing to cap families’ child care expenses, Clinton also pledged to bolster child care workers’ wages through an initiative that directs funding into state programs that focus on improving compensation in the field and that would also expand home-visiting services to pregnant women and families with young children."

Politico said that "she said she wants to reinforce the early childhood educator workforce to make it a more desirable career and to make employers better able to retain high-quality workers. The Clinton campaign said the efforts would include creating what it calls the RAISE initiative (Respect And Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators), to provide funds to states that increase pay levels for child-care workers to equal compensation for kindergarten teachers.

Clinton in 2015 began promoting a list of early childhood education policy positions, including support for universal preschool for all 4-year-olds.

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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