(The Center Square) – House Democrats announced Tuesday their plan to reduce costs of child care, housing, and prescription medications.
The plan includes providing families with child care tax credits of up to $3,000 per child under age 5. The tax credits would be capped at $7,500, and there would be a one-time child tax credit rebate of $325 for children younger than 17 years old.
Some families pay as much or more on child care as they do on mortgage payments, Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said in a Minnesota House of Representatives DFL Majority news release.
Center of the American Experiment Economist Martha Njolomole told The Center Square in an emailed statement Tuesday that since the tax credits do not replace existing subsidies, spending obligations will be higher.
“Minnesotans will be on the hook for more spending, ergo more taxes to keep all of these programs in place,” she said.
The subsidies do not address the scarcity of child care providers, she added. She said many providers, particularly small ones, have left the market in the past few years because the market has stringent regulations.
“Tax credits or subsidies are of no use if parents cannot find providers,” she said.
Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL-Minneapolis, has proposed providing down payment assistance to first-generation homebuyers to address Minnesota’s housing crisis. The bill, HF 3791, will become part of the larger Housing omnibus bill, HF 4376.
“We know that there are economic disparities in our state and one place where it shows up is in generational wealth,” Agbaje said in the release. “If your parents owned a house, you are more likely to own a house. Our BIPOC neighbors have always been left out of this system on purpose, and it has significantly disadvantaged them and poor people from all races. This down payment assistance program will prioritize disadvantaged groups and help them through the process to achieve home ownership.”
Seventy-six percent of White households own a home while less than 23% of Black households own a home, the release said.
House Democrats have proposed increasing funding for Minnesota’s Renter’s Credit and Homestead Credit Refund programs, which would save about 120,000 renters an average of $700 on housing costs, the release said. Thirty percent of renter’s credit recipients are seniors or people with disabilities, the release said.
Nearly 400,000 homestead credit refund filers will receive, on average, $100 more, and more than 1.3 million homesteads that qualify for the market value exclusion will gain further exclusion, the release said.
Rep. Michael Howard, DFL-Richfield, has proposed capping insulin, asthma inhalers and EpiPens at $25 a month to address soaring medication prices with HF 3592. More than 400,000 Minnesotans have asthma and more than 500,000 have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
“Corporate profits are soaring while Minnesotans are seeing their costs go up,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Golden Valley, said in the release. “That is why we are so focused on putting workers and families first this session. We have an opportunity to truly deliver help to those who need it most.”