State Policy

November 14, 2023

Utah's State Child Tax Credit

As many Utahns experienced firsthand during the pandemic, a generous child tax credit (CTC) can make a world of difference for families raising young children. During this challenging time, the CTC was temporarily expanded and made refundable, granting families $300 per month per child under six and $250 per child aged six to seventeen – providing significant tax relief for working families. This expansion had a far-reaching impact, reducing child poverty to its lowest recorded level in 2021, dropping by 46% from 9.7% in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021. Unfortunately, a year after the expansion ended, child poverty returned to 12.4%. In Utah, the federal CTC expansion helped lift 32,000 children from poverty.

In 2023, Utah became the 13th state to introduce its very own child tax credit, thanks to the leadership of Representative Susan Pulsipher. Like the federal child tax credit, a state-level child tax credit is intended to help families with the costs of raising children. 

As Utah’s legislators prepare for the 2024 legislative session, they should consider meaningful ways to expand Utah’s child tax credit to ensure it provides real support for families.

How it Works

Utah’s narrowly tailored Child Tax Credit allows some families to claim up to an additional $1,000 per child each year. Whether a parent stays home or both parents work, this tax credit can provide much-needed financial support.

Who is Eligible

  • This $1,000 tax credit is for children who are ages 1-3 on the last day of the claimant’s taxable year.

  • There are household income requirements. Families with an income of $54,000 for a couple or $43,000 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household) can claim the credit.

  • If a family makes more than a certain amount of money, they can still claim this tax credit, but it is phased out based on household income. 

It's important to note that Utah's CTC is non-refundable. It can only be used to help reduce the amount of income taxes you owe but Utah’s CTC doesn’t help any families whose income tax burden is zero.  [For more information on refundability, go here.]

Who it Helps

Utah's CTC won't take effect until families file their 2024 taxes in 2025. According to an analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP):

  • 1.4% of households in Utah will benefit from the state CTC.
  • Among those eligible, the average annual tax savings will be around $400.
  • 4.3% of children will benefit from the CTC. 
  • No family will receive the full $1,000 per child. 

Looking Ahead

Utah’s narrowly-tailored CTC doesn’t serve enough families. With its restrictions, the current state CTC doesn’t really help low- and middle-income households, especially those with more children. It also leaves out families with newborns and kids aged four to eighteen. Many more families could be helped by expanding our state child tax credit. 

A bold state child tax credit gives Utah parents opportunities and choices to set their children up for future success. Children need parents to give them a solid start in life - and parents need the support of their community to be there for their kids. Expanding our state CTC gives critical community support to young parents raising children in Utah. 

Edit: ITEP Analysis numbers were updated on November 21, 2023, to use estimations based on 2024 incomes. 

Published in News & Blog

In 2023, Utah introduced its own child tax credit (CTC) marking a positive step forward. However, the credit's limited scope falls short of providing real assistance to families raising young children. As we approach the 2024 legislative session, there is a crucial opportunity for lawmakers to make meaningful changes and expand the CTC to better serve Utah families.

The current $1,000 child tax credit is for families with children ages 1-3 with an income of $54,000 for a couple or $43,000 for a family with a single parent. Under the current child tax credit, 1.4% of families and 4.3% of children benefit. For those eligible, the average tax credit is $400.

Here's how expansion could impact families:

  Percent of Families Benefiting Percent of Children Benefiting Avg Tax Cut
(per eligible household)
Current Child Tax Credit 1.4% 4.3%  $400 
Original 2024 Legislative Proposal
HB 153 expands credit to 4- and 5-year-olds
2.9%  8.9%  $599 
Current 2024 Legislative Proposal
HB 153 2nd Substitute expands credit to 4-year-olds (and adds dangerous child care licensing changes)
1.8% 5.4% $456

Meaningful Expansion
Make credit available to low-income families (refundable) and children between birth and age five

7.2%  21.7%  $1,298 

Key Recommendations

  1. The credit should be available to families with children from birth to 5 years (adding newborns, 4-year-olds, and 5-year-olds). 
    The first five years of a child's life are the most financially demanding for parents. Diapers, clothing, formula, and child care costs create a significant burden. Expanding the credit to all children aged 0-5 acknowledges the unique financial challenges faced by families during these crucial early years.

  2. The credit should be refundable.
    Utah's current CTC is non-refundable, limiting its impact. Making the CTC refundable would mean that even if a family doesn’t owe income tax after credits and deductions, they could receive the credit through a tax refund. A refundable CTC ensures that low- and middle-income families—who pay sales and other taxes but have little or no income tax liability—can still benefit from the CTC. Because our current CTC is non-refundable, our analysis shows that currently, no families receive the full $1,000/per child benefit. Eleven of the 14 states with a child tax credit have structured their CTCs to be refundable. If a family makes more than a certain amount of money, they can still claim this tax credit, but it is phased out based on household income. 

What are elected officials considering this year for child tax credit expansion?

For the 2024 legislative session, Representative Susan Pulsipher has introduced legislation making 4- and 5-year-old children eligible for the CTC, therefore expanding the age range to children ages 1-5 (but still excluding newborns). Governor Spencer Cox’s proposed budget also advocates for this change.

While we support this first step, we strongly recommend a more comprehensive, impactful approach. We recommend making the tax credit available for families with any child between birth and age five. Additionally, the CTC should be made refundable, ensuring that all families receive the full benefit of $1,000/per child. This expansion would create more substantial financial relief for families.

With the CTC’s current limitations, this tax credit is not functioning as a genuine support for families bearing the cost of raising young children. By making the credit refundable and extending eligibility to cover children ages 0-5, the state has the opportunity to create a more meaningful child tax credit that aligns with the financial realities faced by families.

NOTE: As of January 25th, there has been a damaging change to HB 153. An adopted substitute includes dangerous changes to child care quality expectations, allowing unlicensed people to watch even more kids without safety training or home inspections. This step backward is bad for kids, does nothing to solve our child care issues in Utah, and absolutely should not be wedged into a Child Tax Credit bill. Read about why we oppose this bill here. 

Learn more about Utah's Child Tax Credit here 

 

Published in News & Blog

Representative Susan Pulsipher’s HB 153 was initially aimed at providing tax relief for families with young children through an expanded state child tax credit. Originally, the bill aimed to extend the child tax credit eligibility from ages one to three to ages one to five. We considered this original bill to be a top Voices for Utah Children priority. Unfortunately, during the session the bill was hijacked and an adopted substitute now adds a damaging provision allowing unlicensed child care providers to look after up to 8 children without safety training or home inspections.

While we appreciate the expanded background check measures and child ratio requirement for children under 3 for unlicensed providers, the bill lacks enforcement provisions for those operating without checks or failing them, as well as for existing unlicensed providers.

Why We Oppose HB 153 S03

This change jeopardizes the safety of Utah children by permitting unlicensed providers, without CPR and First Aid training or home inspections, to care for more children without oversight. This bill does not increase capacity for licensed family child care providers, rather, it specifically allows unlicensed individuals to watch more children.

Addressing child care licensing standards within a tax code bill is inappropriate. While expanding Utah’s Child Tax Credit was a key priority, it does not belong in the same bill that seeks to lower standards for child care quality.

Utah has seen previous attempts to increase the number of children allowed in unlicensed care. In 2021, HB 271 attempted to increase the number of children an unregulated provider could care for from 4 to 6. While it failed, it resurfaced in 2022 under HB 15, passing despite extensive opposition from providers and child safety groups, including Voices for Utah Children. HB 153 S03 takes this effort a step further by increasing the number of children from 6 to 8.

Why HB 153 S03 is Dangerous

This proposal disempowers parents, grandparents, foster parents, and working adults seeking safe child care options for their children. The lack of oversight and transparency in under-the-radar child care puts families in a precarious position, unable to access vital information about providers (e.g. verified background checks, safety violations and complaints, and guaranteed levels of basic safety training). While we appreciate the added provisions requiring background checks for unlicensed providers, the bill lacks enforcement and does not specify whether background check results will be available to the public.

Homeowners insurance doesn't cover providers caring for more than four unrelated children, and providers cannot access outside liability insurance without a license, leaving parents with minimal legal recourse if their child is hurt, injured, or killed while in care.

This change would solidify Utah’s place as the second-worst state nationally in this aspect, with only South Dakota allowing higher unregulated care capacity. If Utah is supposed to be a state that is good for kids and families, this bill sets us back. 

Why HB 153 S03 Doesn’t Help Fix the Child Care Crisis

Many child care experts predict that this change would actually decrease the supply of available child care in Utah. This proposal could incentivize some programs to reduce their size and drop their licenses, leaving fewer families with access to any care. 

Many proposals have been made to address Utah’s child care crisis, but lowering standards for the people who care for children is not, and should not be, one of them. This is not requested or supported by early care and learning professionals and experts. Parents seek easier access to good, affordable child care with certainty that their children are safe, happy, healthy, and learning. Parents and providers want the state to prioritize the well-being of Utah’s children, rather than advancing simplified policy proposals that divert attention from the genuine problem-solving needed to address the child care crisis.

What About Supporting the Child Tax Credit?

Although HB 153 was initially one of our priority pieces of legislation, the recent licensing changes have led us to withdraw our support for this bill. Originally, the bill only made incremental expansions to the child tax credit, but with the adoption of the third substitute, eligibility for 5-year-olds was removed, effectively cutting the expansion in half. Our analysis indicates that HB 153 S03 will only extend the credit to 0.4% more families, which is insufficient. The proposed changes to childcare licensing are concerning and not worth the marginal increase in tax credit eligibility. Voices for Utah Children believes it's preferable to either revert to the original bill or forego its passage entirely. Moving forward, we will focus on advocating for a more comprehensive child tax credit without compromising on childcare safety standards.

Note: HB 153 passed on February 29, 2024. For more information on this complex bill we created an FAQ to address questions about the passed bill and explain its significant implications.

FAQs on HB 153: Child Care Revisions

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As we entered the 2024 session, supporting families with young children remained a top policy priority of Voices for Utah Children. At the forefront of our advocacy efforts is the urgent need to address the critical child care needs of these families.

We worked closely with several legislators to propose much-needed public investment in the child care sector. We also supported multiple early care and education bills that were championed by other legislators and organizations. Here's what passed (and what didn't):

Child Care Priorities

HB 461: Child Care Grant Amendments, Rep. Ashlee Matthews & Sen. Luz Escamilla
This bill makes child care workers eligible for child care subsidies regardless of income, mirroring Kentucky's successful initiative. This helps child care owners cover the costs of providing a child care benefit and helps staff keep more of their paycheck. However, its enactment is contigent on federal funding approval, delaying implementation until that is secured. Initially, this bill also created the Child Care Workers Wage Supplement Grant Program, to help child care providers maintain a $15/hour wage for their staff, once stabilization grants end. Unfortunately, this provision was removed through an amendment. Eliminating the wage program and tying subsidy eligibility to federal funding made the bill cost-free for the state. Despite our disappointment with the continued lack of public investment in the child care sector, we remain optimistic about its potential positive impact, estimated to benefit 2,200 parents employed in child care.
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: AMENDED VERSION PASSED

HB 541: Child Care Grants Amendments, Rep. Andrew Stoddard
This bill would extend Utah’s current child care stabilization grant program, funded at 50% of the original grant size, for another two years as an emergency stopgap measure. The proposal aimed to address Utah's impending loss of over $400M in expiring federal funds allocated for the child care sector. With the $240M cost, we did not anticipate its passage. Still, we hoped for a hearing where parents and providers could share their thoughts on the program and how they have been impacted by the dwindling funding. Despite the bill not advancing, we were pleased the federal funding cliff received significant media attention during the session. 
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: BILL NEVER HEARD IN COMMITTEE

HB 153: Child Care Revisions, Rep. Susan Pulsipher & Sen. Dan McCay
Originally, this bill sought to expand Utah’s new and very limited
Child Tax Credit to allow families to claim a tax benefit for any child aged one to five. Unfortunately, the bill took an unexpected turn when a substitute version was adopted, introducing a dangerous provision raising the cap on the number of children unlicensed providers can care for from six to eight. In response to strong objections from the child care community over safety issues, new regulations were introduced for unlicensed providers, marking the first time such measures have been implemented. These include mandatory background checks and limits on caring for more than two children under 3 years old. We anxiously await information on how the Department of Health and Human Services will enforce these provisions. Additionally, an amendment passed on the House floor that scaled back the child tax credit expansion to only cover 4-year-olds, effectively halving its impact. This modified expansion will extend the credit to a marginal 0.4% more families, benefiting 1.1% more children, with an average annual tax savings of $456 per eligible family. While the child tax credit was initially a top priority of Voices for Utah Children, the dangerous child care licensing provisions led us to change our position and advocate against the bill. For more information on this complex bill, check out our HB 153 FAQs Blog.
Position: OPPOSE
Outcome: AMENDED VERSION PASSED 

Other Child Care Legislation & Funding Requests

SB 220: School Readiness Grant Program Modernization, Sen. Ann Millner & Rep. Katy Hall
This bill will streamline and improve the state’s current High Quality School Readiness (HQSR) program, Utah's preschool program, by cleaning up the governing code. Promise Partnership Utah, our partner organization, led out on this bill. 
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: PASSED 

School Readiness Grant Program Funding, Rep. Katy Hall
This funding request sought $6M in ongoing funds for the School Readiness Program, as demand for the program is higher than funds allow. Promise Partnership Utah, our partner organization, led out on this funding request.
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: NOT FUNDED

SB 176: Child Care Services Amendments, Sen. Luz Escamilla & Rep. Robert Spendlove
This bill would have created a Salt Lake County pilot project to retrofit empty state-owned buildings for child care facilities. With the goal of creating a public-private partnership solution for child care, local employers would have worked with child care providers to offer care to their employees in the facilities. Under the proposal, 60% of the child care slots would be designated for the business's employees, while the remaining 40% would be reserved for children from low-income families, state employees, and military families. This bill was supported by the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity. The bill passed unanimously through the Senate, but unexpectedly failed in the House on the final days of the session.
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: FAILED

HB 96: Child Care Program Sales Tax Exemption, Rep. Christine Watkins
This bill would allow for a sales and use tax exemption for construction materials used to construct or expand a child care program.
Position: SUPPORT
Outcome: BILL NEVER HEARD IN COMMITTEE

Advocacy

While we anticipated a challenging session for child care advocacy, there are still significant achievements to celebrate!

We hosted four Child Care Champion Lobby Days and a Child Care Advocacy Day hosting nearly 100 parents, providers, and kiddos to the Capitol Rotunda. With the help of our partners, we facilitated over 40 constituent meetings with legislators, and sent over 2,000 emails to lawmakers advocating for child care support! With our partners at Neighborhood House, we released an open letter with 140 businesses, philanthropists, and community members calling on the legislature to address the child care crisis. Furthermore, our advocacy efforts garnered more media coverage than ever before, bringing attention to child care issues across the state. 

Our efforts to educate lawmakers on the importance of child care licensing, led to more nuanced discussions about child care than ever before. Thanks to the invaluable contributions of parents and child care providers who testified or contacted legislators, lawmakers undoubtedly know more about child care than they did 45 days ago.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to child care advocacy efforts during the 2024 Legislative Session! Also a special shout out to our partners, Utah Care for Kids, Promise Partnership Utah, United Way of Salt Lake, Utah Private Child Care Association, Utah Professional Family Child Care Association, YWCA Utah, Utah Afterschool Network, UAEYC, Early Childhood Alliance, Neighborhood House, Bolder Way Forward Child Care Spoke, Utah Community Builders and The Salt Lake Chamber, Powerful Moms Who Care, Community Change, MomsRising, and the countless parents and providers who made time in their busy schedules to advocate for child care. 

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During the pandemic, the child care sector was decimated. Nationally, 16,000 childcare programs permanently closed and 100,000 workers left the industry entirely. But even before the pandemic began, Utah only had enough licensed child care to meet about 35% of our state child care needs.

Nationally, more than 3 million child care spots were saved by American Rescue Plan Funding. And Utah actually bucked the trend of closing child care programs. Thanks to federal intervention, Utah has more licensed child care slots available to families than before the pandemic began in 2020. This was thanks to federal funding that infused desperately needed investment into the long-ignored sector. Utah received close to $600 million in extra federal funding, starting in 2020, during the COVID pandemic to help keep child care businesses open so parents could continue to work.

This money will soon be completely spent. By June 2024, Utah will run out of money for almost all of the COVID-era support for our child care system. The following chart details the annual funding lost per county.

County Child Care Fund Breakdown 3

The majority of these funds went to Child Care Stabilization Grants, dispersed by the Utah Office of Child Care. These have been one of the most important factors in allowing Utah’s child care sector to survive, and even expand. Since last January, the Office of Child Care has distributed $189 million of ARPA and CRRSA funds directly to child care programs statewide to ensure that they can continue to operate despite workforce shortages and rising costs of food and materials. The size of the grants are based on the licensed capacity of the eligible program.

More than 1,000 licensed and exempt programs are currently receiving monthly stability grants. Since the beginning of this program, around 1,500 programs have benefitted, serving more than 80,000 Utah children.

With these grants, child care programs have been able to do several critical things:

  • Hire enough staff to ensure that their full program capacity can be utilized;
  • Raise the wages of at least half of their workers to $15/hr, so they have even a slim chance of competing with fast food establishments and retail chains;
  • Keep tuition costs down for families that are also struggling with inflation;
  • Pay for critical facility maintenance needs that have been unmet previously due to cost.

The other major program that sustained Utah’s child care sector was the Youth and Early Care Workforce Bonus, dispersed by the Utah Office of Child Care. Utah joined dozens of other states in using federal child care stabilization funding to pay child care workers a bonus of $2,000 per individual. This was meant to acknowledge the work and sacrifices of child care workers - most of whom remained working throughout the pandemic - as well as incentivize their continued participation in the field.

Before the pandemic, Utah’s median hourly wage for child care educators was $10.47, on average less than a dog walker. $2,000 represents as much as 10% of the average child care worker’s annual income, making the bonus incredibly impactful for providers and their families. 9,368 early care and education professionals received this bonus.

The funding above shows the combined funding amounts lost per county due to emergency funding expiration. But it is a floor, not a maximum. The totals do not take into account funding used for:

  • Co-pay Coverage: Cover co-pays for families that use child care subsidies (ranges between $19-$807 per family): $18,181,881
  • Licensing-related Fees Coverage: Cover the costs to eliminate barriers to licensure: $1,200,000
  • Regional Child Care Development Grants: Grants for regional Care about Child Care agencies to expand child care access and improve care: $2,003,244
  • Training and Education: Numerous professional development, continuing education, and training scholarships: $5,734,424

This over $572,000,000 of federal funding will soon end, destabilizing the child care sector. To read about the impacts, see our blog post: Utah's Child Care Crisis is About to Hit a Whole New Level.

To see the breakdown of child care funds per county, see the full excel file here. To request a city or town breakdown, please contact .

To learn more about our campaign to invest in child care, go to UtahCareforKids.org.

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At two large pre-legislative events in the second week of January, hundreds of attendees heard Utah's Senate President proudly assert that Utah was the only state that increased education funding during the pandemic. 

Every year, especially around the end of every legislative session, Utah's political leaders proclaim that they are putting record amounts of funding into education. 

Unfortunately, these claims are contradicted by the data published by the Utah State Board of Education in its Superintendent's Annual Report

Real FY21 and FY22 State + Local Education Funding Did Not Rise -- It Fell

 Real State Local K 12 Education Funding

These data are from the USBE Superintendent's Annual Reports, adjusted for inflation using the standard CPI-U inflation index from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. They show that Utah's real (inflation-adjusted) state + local education funding fell in both FY21 and FY22, both in total and on a per-student basis. (During those two fiscal years, the Utah Legislature passed over $300 million in income tax cuts.) 

State Education Funding Has Fallen While Local Education Funding Has Risen

FY2022 real per student state K 12 funding

We have heard legislative leaders assert every year that they have appropriated record amounts for education. We have also sometimes heard them say that local education funding (from property taxes) has not kept up, and that is the reason that overall education funding is inadequate to reduce Utah's largest-in-the-nation class sizes or address our high rates of new teacher turnover. Yet the data from USBE show two trends that contradict these claims, as illustrated in the chart above: 

    1. Real per-student state education funding was 2.5% lower in 2022 than in 2008 (the peak year for education funding before the Great Recession). 
    2. Real per-student local education funding was 12% higher in 2022 than in 2008. 

It is also worth noting, in this context, that permanently cutting the state income tax rate, as the Legislature has done in recent years and is considering doing once again this year, tends to put additional pressure on local property taxes to make up the difference for schools. The income tax and the property tax are the two main sources of funding for education. If policymakers intentionally and repeatedly undermine one of them, that inevitably creates pressure to increase the other (or allow it to increase naturally, as has happened the last two years with property taxes as home values have shot up).  

Can We Have Record Education Funding and Record Tax Cuts?

Legislative leaders have used their incorrect claims that Utah increased education funding during the pandemic to bolster their case that Utah can have it all -- record high levels of education funding and record tax cuts. But USBE data reveal that, in fact, we cannot have it all, that tradeoffs exist, and that hard choices must be made. If we have record tax cuts, we likely will not have record levels of education funding. If we want to strengthen education finance for the long-term betterment of our children and our state, we ought to consider what we are giving up when we give in to the tax cut temptation.  

One Final Comment: Inputs vs Outcomes

Needless to say, this entire discussion concerns only inputs to, not outcomes of, our K-12 public education system. But, as one superintendent wisely observed over a decade ago, "We cannot have the best school system in the country and be the lowest in the country in funding. We can't be first if we're always last." 

While there is little doubt that Utah does more with less in our public schools better than probably any other state, there are several key educational outcome measures that most concern Voices for Utah Children: 

  • Our high school graduation rates are no higher than or below national averages for nearly every racial and ethnic category. 
  • Our high school graduation rate gaps between haves and have-nots and between majority and minority groups are larger than nationally.
  • Our rate of college degrees, an area where Utah's older generations outpaced the nation, has fallen behind the nation's among our younger generation, the Millennial generation, based on Census data for Utahns age 25-34

Closing these gaps and regaining our once enviable lead will require substantial new investments at every step in the pipeline, from expanding pre-K and full-day kindergarten options to reducing class sizes and new teacher turnover in our elementary, middle, and high schools, to ensuring that more of our sons and daughters finish what they start at our public colleges and universities. 

 Note: The charts in this blog post are from Voices for Utah Children's forthcoming "Children's Budget Report 2023" that will be published in February 2023.

Both graphs are available for download here

Methodology and Location of Data  

Utah’s education funding rises each year, but so does the student population. And prices rise due to inflation, which has been worse the last year than in 40 years. So how can we judge whether education funding is really going up, as our political leaders always claim? There is one metric considered to be the gold standard for this purpose: inflation-adjusted per-student spending. To calculate this metric, you need three pieces of data. The locations of these items are detailed below:

1. State, Local, and Federal Education Spending

Source: Utah State Board of Education Superintendent’s Annual Report at www.schools.utah.gov/superintendentannualreport

Direct Document Link: Statewide Total: Revenue and Expenditures by Fund, June 30, 2022 https://www.schools.utah.gov/file/674392fc-3946-4ba2-ba19-da7f024f3fe5 

Comments: In the charts above, we used the state and local education spending data

2. K-12 Student Population

Source: Utah State Board of Education Superintendent’s Annual Report at www.schools.utah.gov/superintendentannualreport

Direct Document Link:  Fall Enrollment by Grade Level and Demographics, October 1, School Year 2022-2023  https://www.schools.utah.gov/file/5c8e2fac-55dc-4f0a-bf6a-6889133e4ffe 

Comments: Be sure to use the fall enrollment data from the fall of the year you are analyzing. For example, for FY/SY22, use October 2021 enrollment data.   

3. Inflation Index CPI-U

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statisticshttps://www.bls.gov/data/home.htm 

Direct Document Link:  All Urban Consumers (Current Series) (Consumer Price Index - CPI) https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?cu  U.S. city average, All items - CUUR0000SA0....then use “Annual Averages”  

Google Sheet with all collected data, sources & formulas

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fTy8wKHY6Di33eRLTcM7Ce1B5Caw10sb/edit#gid=534909710

 

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BROAD COALITION CALLS FOR INVESTMENT IN UTAH’S FUTURE RATHER THAN TAX CUTS, DOCUMENTS $5.6 BILLION IN URGENT UNMET NEEDS

Salt Lake City – On Monday, January 23, 2023 at the Utah State Capitol, a broad and diverse coalition of advocates for the poor, for disabled Utahns, for education, health care, clean air, the Great Salt Lake, transportation investment, and a variety of other popular Utah priorities held a press conference calling on the Utah Legislature to prioritize addressing Utah’s long and growing list of unmet needs over permanent tax cuts that undermine our long-term capacity to invest in Utah’s future.

Utah’s strong economy and rapid recovery from the pandemic, combined with the ongoing impact of federal spending, have generated unexpected state revenues amounting to a reported $3.3 billion available for FY2024. These revenues put Utah in a position to address chronic revenue shortages that have plagued numerous areas of state responsibility. Instead, state leaders have proposed roughly half a billion dollars in permanent tax cuts, tilted unfairly toward the high end of the income scale, as well as additional hundreds of billions in one-time tax breaks.   

These new proposed permanent tax cuts would be over and above the roughly $4 billion that the Legislature has already cut from annual revenues in recent decades, leaving Utah’s taxes at their lowest level in half a century, relative to incomes.

4b tax cuts since 1985 CANVA 2048x1381

In response, today the Invest in Utah’s Future coalition presented a list of urgent unmet needs amounting to $5.6 billion, over $2 billion more than the amount of the “surplus” revenues.

The advocates also pointed out that, according to data from the Utah State Tax Commission and the Utah Foundation, taxes in Utah are the lowest that they have been in decades, following repeated rounds of tax cutting. “Of course we all like paying lower taxes, but at a certain point we have to ask ourselves: Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Are we, as the current generation of Utahns, meeting our responsibility, as earlier generations did, to set aside sufficient resources every year to invest in our children, in our future, in the foundations of the next generation’s prosperity and quality of life?” said Matthew Weinstein of Voices for Utah Children.

Speakers also referenced public opinion surveys by the Deseret News and Hinckley Institute that found that only 25% of Utahns support tax cutting over investing in Utah’s future, consistent with other polls done in recent years by the same organizations as well as by Envision Utah and the Utah Foundation.

Here is the list of urgent unmet needs that Utah has not been able to address due to the state’s chronic revenue shortages:

 Budget Area Amount Details Contacts
 K-12: Reduce class sizes from 29 to 15  $1.1 billion ($612m K-6 only)  

Reduce class sizes/improve student/teacher ratio below the current Utah average of 29 (vs national average of 24) to optimum class size of 15.

Utah Education Association Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain
 K-12: Paraeducators   $312 million  

Expand paraeducators to all Utah elementary classrooms.

Utah Education Association Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain
 K-12: Increase school counselors   $130 million  Increase school counselors per student to the national standard optimum of 1:250. Utah’s current ratio is 1:648, compared to the national average of 1:455.    Utah Education Association Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain
 K-12: school psychologists, social workers and special ed teachers  $285 million Increase student access to school psychologists, social workers and special ed teachers. 

Current and optimal ratios are: 

School psychologists: Now 1:1950/Optimal 1:500

Social workers: Now 1:3000/Optimal 1:250

Special ed teachers: Now 1:35/Optimal 1:25
Utah Education Association Director of Policy and Research Jay Blain
 K-12 Education: reduce teacher attrition and shortages  $500-600 million  Envision Utah estimates that we need to invest an additional $500-600 million each year just to reduce teacher turnover, where we rank among the worst in the nation. Our leaders’ unwillingness to solve our education underinvestment problem is why the majority-minority gaps in Utah’s high school graduation rates are worse than nationally and our younger generation of adults (age 25-34) have fallen behind their counterparts nationally for educational attainment at the college level (BA/BS+).   
 K-12 School Nurses  $78.5 million The Utah Dept of Health annual report “Nursing Services in Utah Public Schools 2021-22” found that it would cost $78.5m to hire an additional 785 nurses so as to have one nurse in every public school building. There are currently only 261 nurse FTEs in Utah’s public schools, a ratio of 1 nurse for every 2,583 students. One nurse in every building would improve that ratio to 1:644, which would still be worse than the national average.
https://heal.health.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/2022-Nursing-services-in-Utah-Public-schools-8-22-22-ADA.pdf
 Dr. William Cosgrove, Past-President, American Academy of Pediatrics – Utah
 Full Day Kindergarten  $70 million  Gov. Cox is proposing $70 million in the FY24 budget to make full-day Kindergarten available to all Utah families who would choose to opt in to it.  Voices for Utah Children Anna Thomas
Child Care $236 million

$236 million is needed to continue stabilizing the child care industry as federal funds are depleted. This funding will allow for the continuation of child care stabilization grants, retention incentives for early childhood professionals, the coverage of licensing-related fees in order to lessen the barriers to expanding, maintaining, and opening new child care programs, and regional child care outreach grants for rural and urban child care deserts.

Source: www.utahcareforkids.org/get-involved/2023-legislation

Jenna Williams  

Pre-K and Child Care $1 billion Well over $1 billion is one estimate for a much needed comprehensive system of early childhood care and education (pre-k) in Utah.  
Afterschool Programs $3.6 million Utah’s 303 afterschool programs serve 43,000 kids but still leave 99,000 unsupervised every day after school. During the 2021 “21st Century Community Learning Center” grant competition in Utah, $1,062,816 was available and there was $4.6 million in requests, indicating a $3.6 million funding gap. Utah Afterschool Network Director Ben Trentelman 
Health Insurance: Children: Cover All Kids $5 million It would cost Utah about $5 million to remove barriers to health insurance coverage so that all Utah kids can access health insurance. Utah currently ranks last in the nation for covering the one-in-six Utah kids who are Latinx and in the bottom 5 states for all children. Source: Voices for Utah Children and www.100percentkids.health Voices for Utah Children Ciriac Alvarez Valle

Health Insurance:

New parents
$10 million

HB 84 would cost $3m to extend post-partum Medicaid coverage for new parents from the current 60 days to one year.

HB 85 would cost $7m to extend Medicaid coverage to pregnant women with household incomes up to 200% of poverty level.
Voices for Utah Children Ciriac Alvarez Valle
 Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Treatment Uncertain 

Utah ranks last in the nation for mental health treatment access, according to a 2019 report from the Gardner Policy Institute.

2020 report from the Legislative Auditor General found that Utah’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative had failed to achieve its goal to reduce recidivism -- and actually saw recidivism rise -- in part because “both the availability and the quality of the drug addiction and mental health treatment are still inadequate.” (pg 51)

Amounts not determined to address large gaps in workforce capacity, but two bills this year are:  

HB 66: $11m for additional Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams and 2 additional Receiving Centers in rural parts of Utah

HB 248: $5m for additional Assertive Community Treatment Teams
 
 Disability Services  $31 million

The DSPD disability services waiting list has more than doubled in the last decade from 1,825 people with disabilities in 2011 to 4,427 in 2021. The FY20 $1 million one-time appropriation made it possible to provide services to 143 people from the waiting list, implying that it could cost $31 million to eliminate the waiting list entirely. 

In the 2022 session, the Legislature added $6 million in ongoing and $3 million in one-time money to shorten the disabilities waiting list. This year, Rep. Ward is sponsoring HB 242 to dedicate additional base budget funding to reduce the waitlist by 200 people each year.
 Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities – Jan Ferre  
 Rural Utah Economic Development $20 million   Rural Utahns should not feel that they need to abandon their home communities and add to the growth pressures along the Wasatch Front in order to provide for their families. Rural economic development would benefit all Utahns and reduce disparities between the Wasatch Front and other areas of the state. $20 million was one estimate for funding for economic development projects like the San Rafael Energy Research Center (Emery County) and renewable energy projects around Beaver County, both serving areas where primary jobs such as Smithfield Foods have left recently, and renewable energy projects have the potential to stabilize county economies.   Community Action Partnership of Utah - Stefanie Jones and Clint Cottam –  
 Reduce/Eliminate Benefits Cliffs  Uncertain  The existing benefits cliffs in many public anti-poverty programs – where public assistance disappears suddenly rather than phasing out gradually when someone gets a raise or takes a new, higher-paying job – act as an unintended obstacle to the efforts of low-income people to work their way out of poverty.   Circles Salt Lake – Kelli Parker
 Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Services  

$310 million

OR

$68 million
 

Our economy incurs steep economic costs as a result of sexual and domestic violence. The Center for Disease Control estimates that over a lifetime the costs for a female survivor are $103,762 and for a male survivor $23,414. These include medical costs, loss of employment or interruption of paid work, criminal justice system costs, among others. A coalition of victim service providers and state agencies estimates the annual funding needed as $310 million ongoing to meet standard of care for all victims of domestic and sexual violence OR $68 million ongoing to fund the most basic level of services at only the current level of demand for services.

Erin Jemison, Director of Public Policy, Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC)
 Housing  $346 million per year for 10 years  

Among extremely low-income renter households, 71% pay more than 50% of their income for housing, which is considered a severe housing burden. $346 million per year of state funding over the next decade will make it possible to build affordable housing  statewide for people earning less than 50% AMI, based on a state cost share of $80,000 per unit, and Utah is short 43,253 units.

For more information on the current and ongoing needs visit https://nlihc.org/gap/state/ut 

Utah Housing Coalition

Tara Rollins  
 Housing for Seniors  $67.5 million  

$37.5 million a year for 10 years will fund rehabilitation of 500 units per year at a cost of $75,000 per unit. If we don’t fund preservation of affordable housing for seniors we will lose valuable units.

$30 million per year will make available rental gap funding of $500 per month for 5,000 units so that seniors can afford to stay in their rented units.

https://www.utahhousing.org/preserving-senior-affordable-housing-report.html 

https://nyuds.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=b8318f874017488ea9bdd51a296e59ef for senior housing report
Utah Housing Coalition Director Tara Rollins
 Homeless Services  $154 million 

$100m in one-time funds to produce 2,000 units of deeply affordable housing

$19m ongoing for tax credits and housing trust fund

$5m to the housing trust fund to produce 1,000 new units of affordable housing over the next 10 years

$30m one-time for projects to eliminate unsheltered homelessness for families with children: The total number of people needing emergency shelter services in Utah increased by 14% in 2022.  For families with children the increase was 33%.  This is why, for the first time in over 20 years, families with children were turned away from the family shelter in Midvale during the months of September, October and November of last year because there were not enough beds to meet the need.  $30 million would help purchase a motel to convert into a second family shelter and purchase land that can be dedicated to produce mixed income housing developments that include permanent supportive housing for families with children headed by parents with disabling conditions that have been homeless for six or more months.
 

Coalition of Religious Communities - Bill Tibbitts

 Air Quality in Schools $5 million  Funding to continue the successful implementation of this year’s federally-funded program placing air purifiers in every classroom in Utah, which will reduce the risks both from COVID and from Utah’s air pollution and is expected to result in improved school performance, even more than standard interventions such as reducing class size by 30%, or “high dose” tutoring. (Source: Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment) UPHE Director Jonny Vasic -
 Air Quality: Promote Transit $25.5 million  

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) experienced an increase in ridership during Free Fare February in 2022. Tens of thousands of riders, including many new to public transit, enjoyed the services, and stress on our transportation system and environment was lessened.

Governor Cox’s Budget Recommendations for FY24 includes a $25 million, one-year pilot for statewide zero-fare transit. This pilot would include the state’s three transit systems that are not currently zero-fare: Cedar Area Transportation System, SunTran, and the Utah Transit Authority. The governor also recommends $500,000 for a zero fare transit study to analyze the impacts of the pilot.

During Free Fare February, 87% of entities that subsidize UTA fares for their users continued paying subsidies to help enable the zero fare period. The Governor’s proposal calls on UTA fare subsidy partners to continue paying subsidies for their users during this one-year pilot period to cover $13.1 million in additional costs.

This pilot will provide Utah families price relief to help offset the burden of gasoline prices, gasoline tax indexing, and inflation, while also allowing researchers to analyze factors related to permanent decisions about zero fare transit

Steve Erickson -

 Improve UTA transit service   $175.6 million

$10.9m to match UTA projections to fully supplement free fares for a year. (In all, UTA projected $35.9 in fare revenue for 2023)

$3.5 million to address UTA’s driver shortage ($20/hr*2,080 hours*60 operators + 40% for benefits, taxes, etc.)

$30,000 to match CATS (Cedar City’s transit system) to fully supplement free fares for a year based on budget projections.

$136,000 to match SunTran (St. George’s transit system) to fully supplement free fares for a year based on budget projections.

$159 million to clear UTA’s debt to free UTA to expand and improve service.

$2 million to fund a matching grant from the federal government to study the feasibility of a passenger rail route connecting Boise to Las Vegas via Salt Lake and points in between.
 Curtis Haring, Utah Transit Riders Union    
 Hunger $1 million  It is clear that the state needs to do more in providing funding and other resources to help support local community food pantries. Utahns Against Hunger – Gina Cornia –
 Utah EITC  $57 million  Last year Utah became the 31st state with our own Earned Income Tax Credit, but we're one of the few who make it non-refundable, even though over 85% of the value of the federal EITC -- and the key to its poverty-reducing and workforce-enhancing power -- is its refundability. In 2022 under Gov. Youngkin, Virginia made their state EITC refundable. ITEP analysis shows 71% goes to the lowest-earning quintile and nearly all to the lower-income half of Utahns.   Voices for Utah Children – Matthew Weinstein –  
Gov. Cox’s proposed refundable tax credit   $54 million  Utah's Taxpayer Tax Credit shields most low-income workers from the income tax, which is a good thing because it makes our overall tax system less regressive. Now Gov. Cox is proposing to make it even better by making up to $250 of this credit refundable.  Drew Cooper, United Today Stronger Tomorrow
Eliminate the sales tax on unprepared food $200 million The food tax is the most regressive tax. One-third of it is paid by the lowest-income half of Utah households, who earn less than a sixth of all Utah income. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, low-income families pay 36% of their income on food while higher-income families spend only 8%. This is why 37 states do not charge any sales tax on food. Drew Cooper, United Today Stronger Tomorrow
Save the Great Salt Lake $333 million Gov. Cox is proposing $133m in new resources to save the Great Salt Lake and $200 million to help reduce water waste in agriculture. Source: www.sltrib.com/news/2022/12/30/dear-legislature-heres-2023/ Utah Rivers Council –Matt Berry
Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as it relates to undocumented Utahns   Our public fiscal policies – how we generate and expend public investment dollars – have a direct impact on whether we are widening or narrowing the gaps between different groups in Utah. The Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion must be more than just words on a page. slchamber.com/public-policy/utah-compact In particular, Utah is home to 95,000 undocumented men, women, and children. They work hard and pay taxes and need and deserve access to the same public services as every other Utahn. Comunidades Unidas – Brianna Puga –
The economic case against tax cuts   Tax cuts are usually enacted to provide additional stimulus to the economy. Given our very low unemployment rate, along with ongoing inflationary pressures, now is not really the right time for new economic stimulus. The future is uncertain – some economists expect we may face a recession in the coming year, though there’s a wide variety of opinions about the likely timing and severity of such a possible event. Additional tax cuts right now won’t do much to affect that. However, investing now in the many unmet needs we face, particularly in the areas of water and climate, education, child-care, and the many other needs listed here this morning, will put us in a better position to thrive whatever the coming years bring us in terms of economic conditions. Univ. of Utah Economics Prof. Thomas Maloney PhD

 TOTAL

 

$5.6 billion – over $2b more than the amount of "surplus" revenue for FY2024

 

 

 The press conference was broadcast live on Facebook: https://fb.watch/ieyT_0Zi14/?mibextid=RUbZ1f 

INVEST press conf FB screenshot

Media coverage: 

 Additional one-pagers distributed by some of the coalition members: 

Published in News & Blog
January 17, 2023

Comparing the Tax Cuts

* * SEE COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATURE'S $400 MILLION TAX CUT PROPOSAL AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE * *


The 2023 Legislature's annual seven-week General Session has begun! At the top of the agenda for the Governor and Legislative leadership: tax cuts. 

While Voices for Utah Children and many other advocates for Utah's most vulnerable populations are deeply concerned about the long-term detrimental effect of tax cuts on state and local governments' abilities to meet their obligations to Utahns (see www.InvestInUtahsFuture.org for more about that), we are also cognizant of the political reality that tax cuts are popular with Utah's political leadership (in contrast to public opinion).

If there's one thing Voices for Utah Children has learned following tax policy in recent years, it's that not all tax cuts are created equal. Hence this guide to the tax cuts being proposed this year. Note, the legislature has since changed the proposed income tax cut from $200m to $400m further resulting in even greater tax cuts mostly for Utah's top income earners. 

Ranking the Tax Cut Proposals

Comparing the tax cuts chart 3 2 23

Ranking Tax Cut Proposals

We rank the tax cuts by regressivity -- do they make our overall tax system more or less regressive than it currently is? Regressivity is about fairness. Utah's current overall state + local tax system is regressive/unfair in the sense that the highest income households pay a lower overall share of their incomes in state and local taxes than low- and middle-income households.

The chart above illustrates whether each individual proposed tax cut would make Utah's taxes even more unfair, or would it reduce the inequities in the current tax structure. We illustrate the impact of the proposals in the chart below two different ways:

1) By share of the tax cut: How does it slice the pie? Who gets the big pieces and who's stuck with the crumbs (or nothing at all)? 

2) By dollar amounts: How much does an average family benefit each year at each income level? (we provided this information for each tax cut that is available to all taxpayers but not for the more targeted ones that only go to a smaller subset like the Social Security and child tax credits)

Important Background Information

What are the major taxes in Utah and who pays them?

  • The sales tax: Our most regressive tax -- meaning it takes a bigger bite percentage-wise out of the incomes of low- and middle-income families than their high-income neighbors. (And same goes for the gas tax.)
  • The property tax: Not as regressive as the sales or gas taxes but still costs lower-income families a greater share of their incomes than higher-income families, including non-homeowners who pay it indirectly through their rent.
  • The income tax: Utah's only non-regressive tax. The only one that lines up with Utah's income distribution, following the 3/5--1/5 Rule: Three-fifths of all Utah income is earned by the top one-fifth of taxpayers, and three-fifths of the income tax is paid by that same high-income group. KEEP IN MIND: When the Legislature cuts the income tax rate, not only do they make our tax system more regressive overall, they also put more pressure on local property taxes, which tend to rise to make up for the lost education funding when the income tax rate is cut. As a result, cutting the income tax means a tax shift from state to local and from the highest-income Utahns to middle-class and low-income households. 

See more details about who pays which taxes in Utah and how our overall tax structure is regressive at www.ITEP.org/WhoPays/Utah

How Do These Proposed Tax Cuts Compare to Last Year?

Last year, the 2022 Utah Legislature passed SB 59 -- about $200 million of permanent tax cuts.

  • The majority of the breaks went to the highest income fifth of Utahns, those earning above about $130,000.
  • Just 6% of last year's tax cuts went to the bottom two-fifths of Utahns, those earning under about $60,000 a year.

2022 SB 59 Tax Cuts Summary

2022 SB 59 Tax Cuts Summary

 

ANALYSIS OF THE 2023 LEGISLATURE'S $400 MILLION TAX CUT PROPOSAL

 How Utahs Tax Cut Plays Out

 

 

Published in News & Blog

By Sariah Villalon (Voices Policy Intern)


We live in a digital world where social media has become integral to our society. It has broadened our communication, allowing us to connect and share information with anyone around the world. It has helped bring awareness to many issues and achievements within our society. But let's face it, unintended risks and consequences come with every innovation. One of them is its effect on our mental health, especially our young people's mental health.

Over the years, there has been an increase in depression, anxiety, and suicide among the youth, especially among girls. Social media may influence these mental health problems through social comparison, cyberbullying, and exposure to other toxic content (Nesi, 2020). 

Governor Spencer Cox recently addressed the relationship between social media on the mental health of our youth and how we could improve the mental health of our youth in Utah. Some of his recommendations are the following:

  • Hold social media companies accountable by providing tools for parents to safeguard their children,
  • Implement a cell phone-free environment in schools to reduce distraction for students.
  • Encourage parents to set an example for their children by spending quality social time with one another without social media use.
  • Educate their children on what is appropriate to say on these platforms.
  • Monitor their children's social media use by using different tools.
  • Have an honest conversation about social media

There are multiple good points that the governor pointed out. We agree that social media companies need to be held accountable for the algorithm and design of their apps that provide a toxic environment for their users. A couple of legislative efforts have been created to hold social media responsible. But is it enough?

We do not see so much urgency from these big techs. Even if they get fined, they could pay everything off quickly. It also puts too much burden on the parents to monitor and safeguard their children. We also have to be honest that we cannot blame everything on these companies. So, what can we do?

We need to hold these social media companies responsible by making them contribute to funding social media education for the youth. Organizations such as Digital Respons-Ability train parents, students, and educators on digital citizenship.

We cannot escape the digital world, and it will only progress from here on. We need to teach our youth how to use the technology and social media they have properly. Removing phones during school time will not solve our problems. By educating the youth, they can be better equipped to make informed decisions for their lives and improve their learning.

Another is research on the effect of social media on youth mental health. As we know, mental health is multi-faceted. We cannot just say that one factor causes mental health problems. We need more longitudinal studies on its effects to counter better or mitigate its adverse effects.

More importantly, let's talk more openly about our mental health. Let us educate ourselves and share our experiences with our children so they can also be aware of their well-being. Give them the resources to improve or manage their mental health. When children are more knowledgeable, it can increase their chances of knowing when and where to get the help they might need. 

Learn more on how we can help through this video. You can also download this infographic on Youth Mental Health & Digital Media for more information. 

Published in News & Blog

Since the start of the pandemic, Utah has received nearly $600 million in emergency federal funding to ensure that our child care sector can continue to serve families despite nearly overwhelming COVID-era challenges. 

In one year, at the end of September 2023, most of that funding will be exhausted. The potential impacts of this “funding cliff” are: 

    • More child care program closures, 
    • Much higher child care costs for families, and 
    • More dramatic workforce turnover due to lowered wages. 

By this time next year, Utah’s working families with young children will be in even more serious trouble when it comes to child care. That is, if we don’t start talking about how to use state dollars to fund the programs that have kept child care programs stable and open over the past two years. 

Utah’s child care industry struggled long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic exacerbated persistent issues in the sector such as:  

    • Tuition costs that are as high or higher than rent or mortgage payments, and 
    • Wages for providers so low that more than one-half (53%) of child care educators across the nation use public benefits to make ends meet.

Utah’s child care industry would not have been able to weather the COVID pandemic if not for $572 million in federal dollars, $325 million of that through the American Rescue Plan. This infusion of desperately-needed financial support: 

    • Kept hundreds of center- and home-based child care programs open even in the darkest moments of the pandemic;
    • Allowed more families to access child care subsidies with fewer out-of-pocket expenses; 
    • Funded higher wages and even a workforce bonus for early care and education professionals; and
    • Supported regional efforts to recruit new child care providers into the field, while paying startup and licensing costs for these new business owners.

Perhaps the greatest impact was felt through child care stabilization grants offered through the state Office of Child Care. These grants helped child care providers defray the unexpected costs associated with the pandemic, and stabilize their business operations so they could continue to provide care. The grants also helped many providers pay their staff members $15/hour or more. Thanks to these grants, Utah has experienced much fewer child care program closures than many other states.

While very grateful for this support, early care and education providers across Utah tell us that the impending funding cliff has them feeling worried and even hopeless about the future of their work. What they will do when the stabilization grants end in September 2023, and this long-needed government support vanishes?

 A report based on surveys of child care providers in Kentucky reported that when federal American Rescue Plan COVID relief dollars run out in that state: 

    • More than 70% will be forced to raise tuition for working parents
    • Close to 40% indicated they would cut staff wages, and 
    • More than 20% said they would permanently close their child care center. 

Even before the pandemic, Utah had a 65% gap between the need for child care and the capacity of programs to provide it. When relief dollars end, this gap could widen, forcing parents to leave their jobs in an already desperate job market. The lack of accessible child care already accounts for a loss of $512 million in lost earnings, business productivity, and revenue each year in Utah. 

The end of ARPA funds could also mean wage losses in a profession already vastly underpaid at $10.47/hour (or $20,940/year) in Utah. 

State leaders can and need to find ways to continue these business-saving policies. With Utah lawmakers talking about overflowing state coffers and potential tax cuts, we know the money exists. These dollars can be redirected to make a real investment in the child care sector. Even small efforts like covering the costs associated with licensing or removing the bureaucratic burdens of city parking requirements can make an impact.  

This month, newly released Census Bureau data showed an incredible national decline in childhood poverty. Poverty fell to the lowest level on record in 2021 and it was the largest year-to-year decline in history. The decline is largely attributed to a combination of emergency pandemic aid and the child tax credit expansion. We know that access to quality, affordable, safe child care is a good investment in children and families. Let’s learn from the lessons of the last two years and make the investment in children and families that Utah needs. 

Published in News & Blog