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Hochul waives taxes on diapers and releases funding for child care "deserts"

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Kevin P. Coughlin
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Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Hochul Announces Child Care Desert Grant Awardees Receive Nearly $70 Million in Federal Funding

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the state will spend $70 million for improving child care services in New York State, as part of a plan that ends the state sales tax on baby diapers.

The funds are part of $7 billion set aside in the state budget over the next four years to fix what many believe is a broken child care system.

Governor Hochul said the money will create 243 new child care centers. The 12,000 new slots will include 592 guaranteed places for infants and toddlers. 500 slots will be set aside to provide care at non-traditional hours to help essential workers like health care professionals, retail workers, cleaners, and others who don’t have a 9 to 5 schedule.

“The child care workers are the essential workers for the essential workers,” Hochul said. “So let’s just acknowledge the role that they play.”

The new day care centers will be located in what’s known as “child care deserts”, which Hochul said comprises 60% of New York state.

The governor and legislature also have increased the family income threshold for eligibility for assistance to pay for child care from $52,000 to $83,000 per year.

Hochul, a new grandmother , also signed a bill into law that ends the state and local sales tax on diapers, which she said will help counter act rising prices due to inflation. Sponsor, Senator Jamaal Bailey, says as a parent of two, he knows that every savings is helpful.

“I’ve changed a diaper or a thousand in my lifetime,” Bailey said. “Every penny counts.”

Bailey said even with a flexible schedule, he still struggles with juggling child care and camp schedules for his two daughters. Hochul said the funding for child care will also include money for training for child care workers. She adds that day care is much more than just “babysitting”.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.