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Survey: Small businesses oppose taxation to fund child care

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(The Center Square) – Small business owners in Michigan oppose tax increases to fund child care services, says a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business.

The 2024 NFIB Michigan State Ballot asked: “Should Michigan levy new taxes to establish a revenue stream to help fund child care services?” About 88% said no, 7% yes, and 5% undecided.

“Small business owners are all too aware of the challenges facing the workforce,” Amanda Fisher, state director for NFIB Michigan, said in a statement. “Availability of adequate and affordable child care continues to limit the ability of both small business owners to hire and for their employees to thrive. However, when asked if taxes should be raised to help fund childcare, they answered with a resounding no.”

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2024 State of the State address targeted lowering household costs, citing inflation.

“What we can do is make life more affordable by lowering costs on the biggest items in your monthly budget,” Whitmer said. “When your paycheck hits your bank account, you know your largest and most important expenses: housing, child care, transportation, education, utilities, and food.”

Whitmer proposed at least five permanent government expansions but now needs new revenue sources to fund her proposed 2025 budget to attract new residents and stop population loss.

The House Labor Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Economic Development, & Lifelong Learning heard a presentation about child care. The education consultant Policy Equity Group says only 375,808 child care spots exist for 1.5 million Michigan kids ages 12 and under.

Fisher said that child care issues are exacerbating “an already difficult situation” with 55% of owners reporting hiring or trying to hire in January.

“Finding qualified workers remains a struggle for small businesses across the country,” Fisher said. “The most recent NFIB Jobs Report showed that 55% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in January. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 89% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.”

Fisher said stringent child care regulations limit provider capacity.

“If policymakers are serious about helping child care providers, they need to think about how proposed legislation being pushed by the current legislative majorities will affect these business owners,” Fisher said. “Increased costs due to changes for unemployment, workers’ compensation, and commercial insurance could have devastating financial implications, while the paid family leave proposal could end up shutting down child care centers.”

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