A Vote for Proposition 2 Supports Quality Childcare in North Texas
As you head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7 or vote early now through Nov. 3, you’ll find 14 proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, including Proposition 2, which would change Texas’ constitution to establish a tax exemption to support childcare providers.
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we’re advocating for passage of Proposition 2 because extra support for childcare centers would bring some relief to our state’s childcare crisis—which is especially challenging for households with a low income. Expanded access to quality childcare directly supports our mission to improve access to education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity—in North Texas.
Read on to learn more about Proposition 2, how United Way works to expand access to childcare in North Texas and what you need to know about the Nov. 7 election.
The Basics of Proposition 2
Proposition 2 is one of 14 constitutional amendments under consideration in this year’s election. The proposal provides a pathway to offer licensed childcare providers some relief from increasing taxes, and it can reduce property taxes regardless of whether providers own or rent the property in which their business operates.
This tax break would be a lifeline for childcare providers in our region, which would in turn benefit local families who require childcare. Childcare in our state is in crisis, due to the following factors:
- Many childcare providers are struggling to find and keep employees. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, childcare centers across the country have had difficulty retaining quality employees, in part because the pay is often around $12 per hour without benefits. This causes childcare centers to be in direct competition for staff with retail companies and the food service industry.
- Providers are reluctant to raise their tuition rates (which would pay for more employees), since many parents already can’t afford the sky-high cost of childcare. As a result of this financial squeeze, some childcare providers are closing classrooms or shutting down altogether. This leaves North Texas parents with even fewer options for quality childcare.
- Pandemic-era federal funding for childcare is beginning to run out, leaving many childcare centers on the brink of closure. In fact, a new survey conducted by the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children found that more than 1 in 4 childcare programs are likely to close as federal funding ends, which could lead to more than 300,000 Texas children losing childcare, according to a report by the Century Foundation. If families cannot locate childcare they will be forced to leave the workforce, which could have a drastic impact on local economies.
- During this year’s legislative session, Texas lawmakers declined to pass a $2.3 billion proposal that would have maintained funding for childcare as the federal funding expired. The legislature also did not address the waitlist for Texas’ childcare subsidy program, which currently exceeds 80,000 children.
Fortunately, the legislature did address the childcare crisis through one important bill: SB 1145 was passed to offer financial support in the form of a tax cut to childcare providers. However, the tax cut will only go through if voters approve Proposition 2 this November.
If Proposition 2 passes, North Texans will see five key benefits:
- Reduced childcare costs for families.
- Expanded childcare options.
- Strengthened wages for childcare educators.
- Access to high-quality early education for children.
- Parents can remain in the workforce or attend post-secondary job training
How, exactly? The proposition will allow cities and counties to cut property taxes from 50% to 100% for childcare providers voluntarily participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s childcare scholarship program for working parents (CCMS). If a childcare provider rents their facility, the constitutional amendment would require landlords to pass tax savings on to the provider. To ensure a good return for taxpayers, providers must maintain an enrollment of at least 20% of children from working parents participating in the state’s program.
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we are advocating for passage Proposition 2 because it aligns with our goal to improve and expand childcare access in North Texas by ensuring more providers can offer their services to local families. It will also help childcare centers keep costs down, so parents don’t have to contend with rising tuition costs.
United Way Expands Access to Childcare
As part of our mission to improve access to education, income and health, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas leads and supports initiatives that expand the availability of quality, affordable childcare in North Texas.
For example, through our Strong Start initiative, United Way works with child development centers across our four-county footprint to improve quality and access to childcare programs and early education. Strong Start staff lead local initiatives alongside 40+ early learning partners to ensure all children in North Texas have the opportunity to thrive.
Research shows that access to quality early education creates a foundation that positively impacts an individual throughout their entire life. Here’s how childcare can affect the rest of a child’s life:
- Kids who enter school ready to learn—thanks in part to quality childcare—are more likely to read proficiently by third grade.
- Students who read proficiently by third grade are 5x more likely to graduate from high school ready for college or career.
- College graduates earn up to $36,000 more a year, enabling them to save for the future.
- Financially stable adults can cover the costs of health care, helping them lead longer, healthier lives.
By supporting quality, affordable childcare, we can encourage a lifetime of success for all North Texans.
Make Your Plan to Vote in the Nov. 7 Election
Prop 2 would benefit both North Texas families and childcare providers by lowering taxes on childcare centers. By improving access to affordable, quality childcare, the amendment would benefit a child throughout their life, as well as support the overall education, income and health of entire families.
Election Day is coming up fast! If you haven’t already, make a plan to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7, or during early voting, held Oct. 23 to Nov. 3. Read our Election Day Guide for everything you need to know about casting your ballot this year.