RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces New Action to Make Childcare More Affordable

Feb 05, 2024
Press

Passes Expanded Child Tax Credit

Provides Tax Cuts for Housing, Small Businesses

Legislation Being Voted on to Increase SALT Cap

Above: Gottheimer in front of the First Step Nursery School.

FORT LEE, NJ — Today, Monday, February 5, 2024, in front of the First Step Nursery School and Day Care Center, Gottheimer announced new action in Congress to make life more affordable for Jersey families. 

1) Gottheimer urged the Senate to immediately vote on bipartisan legislation he just helped pass out of the House to expand the Child Tax Credit, which will help pay for childcare, food, and other costs, making raising a child in Jersey more affordable. 

2) The legislation will also provide tax cuts for small businesses, like research and development, and it includes a tax credit to make housing more affordable for Jersey families. 

3) Gottheimer also highlighted an anticipated vote on a new bill to raise the State and Local Tax, or SALT, cap — helping stop double taxation, and lower taxes for millions of middle-class Jersey residents. This bipartisan legislation will double the SALT deduction for married couples in 2023 from $10,000 to $20,000. Come 2025, in less than two years, the entire SALT deduction will come back. 

Video of Gottheimer’s announcement can be found here.

“Last week, in Congress, we took steps toward expanding the Child Tax Credit, which will help pay for child care, food, and other costs, making raising a child in Jersey more affordable. It’s key to our children’s success, parents’ ability to work, and to the success of our economy. Now, it’s up to the Senate to vote on and pass this critical legislation and get it to the President’s desk,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5).

Gottheimer Continued, “In the coming days, we’ll be taking more action in Congress on the tax cut front. We’ll be voting on new legislation to raise the SALT cap which will help stop double taxation, and lower taxes for millions of middle-class Jersey residents – for teachers, for nurses, for police and firefighters, for the hard-working men and women of labor. Come 2025, in less than two years, we’re on our way to the entire SALT deduction coming back – and that means lower taxes for hardworking, middle-class Jersey families.”

New Bipartisan Legislation to Expanded Child Tax Credit

  • Increases the maximum refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit from $1,600 in 2023 to $1,800 in 2023, $1,900 in 2024, and the full credit in 2025.
  • Adjusts the $2,000 maximum per Child Tax Credit for inflation.
  • Applies the credit’s phase-in rate on a per-child basis, helping larger families afford the higher costs. 
  • Offers a one-year income “lookback” provision to create flexibility for families to use either current- or prior-year income to calculate their credit. 

New Bipartisan Legislation to Increase the SALT Cap:

  • Will double the SALT deduction for married couples in 2023 – from $10,000 to $20,000
  • For Gottheimer, the proposed amount of SALT relief will not be acceptable long term. Instead, he will continue to demand restoration of the full deduction when the current one expires at the end of 2025.
  • For now, this legislation helps make life more affordable for Jersey families.

Gottheimer was joined by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and Pre-K Teacher Rosemarie Van Tine of the First Step Nursery School and Day Care Center.

Below: Gottheimer with children at childcare facilities, schools across the Fifth District. 

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery below: 

Good morning.

We’re here today in Fort Lee at First Step Nursery School and Day Care Center to announce exciting news for Jersey families on the lower taxes front. Last week, in Congress, we took steps toward expanding the Child Tax Credit, which will help pay for child care, food, and other costs, making raising a child in Jersey more affordable. 

It’s key to our children’s success, parents’ ability to work, and to the success of our economy. We also passed new tax cuts for Jersey small businesses, and a tax credit to make housing more affordable for our families.  Now, it’s up to the Senate to vote on and pass this critical legislation and get it to the President’s desk. 

In the coming days, we’ll be taking even more action in Congress on the tax cut front. We’ll be voting on new legislation to raise the SALT cap – State and Local Taxes – which will help stop double taxation, and lower taxes for millions of middle-class Jersey residents – for teachers, for nurses, for police and firefighters, for the hard-working men and women of labor. Come 2025, in less than two years, we’re on our way to the entire SALT deduction coming back – and that means lower taxes for hardworking, middle class Jersey families. 

When signed into law, both of these developments could have an enormously positive impact on Jersey’s economy, families, and future. Like you, I love Jersey. We have so much going for us, from our schools and workforce to our beaches and the Boss. But it’s too expensive for our families and small businesses. We are hemorrhaging people and businesses, and the jobs and investments that come with them. We have to make life more affordable. These bills, these tax cuts, do just that. 

The nursery school and daycare behind me is one of our incredible Jersey businesses — the backbone of our economy. It has been open for more than 35 years and has provided thousands of children with the quality childcare they deserve. But, for thousands of childcare centers across Jersey and the nation, it hasn’t been an easy time. Over the pandemic, childcare centers struggled to continue keeping their doors open, so they could provide quality, affordable care. Today, as the critical help we provided during the pandemic expires, more than 1,300 childcare programs are expected to close, leaving more than 100,000 kids without childcare in New Jersey.

That’s why I’ve fought to restore the Childcare Stabilization Grants and claw that money back to Jersey. These crucial grants which helped keep employees on the payroll, ensured families have reliable options for quality care during the work day. But more must be done to help families afford the cost of childcare.

Last year, New Jersey was ranked the second most expensive state in the country for childcare. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, childcare can cost more than $17,000 a year right here in Bergen County. Across the nation, since 2019, the average cost of childcare is up 32 percent. The average weekly cost for Jersey families is $442 and the annual price of center-based infant care is an astounding $17,460 annually. 

For someone earning minimum wage or near it in New Jersey, childcare can cost more than fifty percent of their annual salary. Imagine spending half your paycheck on childcare — and that’s before factoring in the cost of commuting, taxes, and other expenses like rent, food, and diapers. In many cases, for some people, when you factor in childcare to all of their other work costs like commuting, it can actually be more expensive to work. That’s unacceptable. Jersey parents are expected to lose more than $378 million dollars in earnings as a result of being forced to cut work hours or leave the workforce altogether to care for their children.

You can see why childcare costs are a huge obstacle to working, and why it has a real impact on our state’s economy. That’s why expanding the Child Tax Credit is so important. The bill we passed last week, once signed into law, will help expand the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit from $1,600 to $2,000, helping with costs like child care and other child-related expenses like food and diapers. 

Now, I’m urging my colleagues in the Senate to immediately vote on and pass this bipartisan tax legislation, which, as I mentioned, will also provide tax cuts for small businesses, like the research and development, or R&D, tax credit, and it includes a tax credit to make housing more affordable for Jersey families. 

Not only will the Child Tax Credit make life more affordable for families, but as we saw when we expanded the tax credit during the pandemic back in 2021, it also cut child poverty in half and lifted more four million children out of poverty. I proudly helped pass that historic expansion of the child tax credit in the American Rescue Plan – and helped childcare providers keep their doors open.  But, since that expansion ended, and the child tax credit was cut back to current levels, child poverty in our country has doubled. 

That’s heartbreaking and unacceptable in the greatest country in the world. The good news is that thanks to the tax cut legislation we passed last week, we are on our way to fixing it. 

As I mentioned earlier, we are also on our way to restoring the State and Local Tax Deduction, or SALT. Before 2017, when the Red States gutted SALT and capped it at $10,000, New Jersey families had a way to avoid double taxation. 

The SALT deduction was around for more than a hundred years, and it really helped our families. After all, the median property tax bill in Bergen County is $15,000. It’s a little over $1,000 in Mississippi. We know gutting SALT led to people and jobs leaving our state. 

Over the last two years, more than 312,000 residents moved out of Jersey. One-third of the state’s publicly traded companies left over the last decade. In fact, Jersey ranked eighth in outmigration in the entire country, with families and businesses citing affordability and taxes as their chief reasons for departing. 

We’ve fought now for years to bring the full SALT deduction back. I helped pass it out of the House four times, just to watch the Red “moocher” States kill it in the Senate.  Here’s the good news: The SALT cap is set to expire in less than two years, in 2025, and when it does, it will make a huge difference. Nearly a third of New Jersey residents — almost three million people — will get tax relief. Eighty percent of them have incomes of $216,000 or less. This is hardly a one-percenter issue. In New Jersey, this is a middle-class issue.

More good news: in the next week or so, as we move toward fully restoring it in 2025, we will be voting in the House to double the SALT deduction for married couples in 2023 – from $10,000 to $20,000. That’s not everything, but it’s a great down payment for affordability and lower taxes in Jersey. 

Let me be clear: the proposed amount of SALT relief will not be acceptable long term – and we will demand restoration of the full deduction when the current one expires at the end of 2025, and I’m optimistic we’ll get it. But for now, while the far-right is in charge, why not take one grain of SALT – and then get the whole SALT shaker?

In short: On all fronts, I’ll keep fighting every day in Congress for lower taxes for our families and small businesses, and to make life more affordable for Jersey. I’ll keep working with Democrats and Republicans to get the childcare and SALT relief our families so badly need. And I’m confident we can get there.

In the greatest country in the world, I know that if we work together, our best days will always be ahead of us.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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