Gov. Dayton proposes expanded child care tax credit

Today, Gov. Mark Dayton outlined a plan to use some of the state's budget surplus to help parents pay for child care.

The average child care cost in Minnesota is $901 a month, or nearly $11,000 annually.

Michelle Steffan, a stay at home mom who was at the Capitol today, tells us, "Anything that I would make working would go immediately with both boys into day care, so I have [stayed] home for about a year."

Dayton's answer to problems like the one faced by Steffan is to expand eligibility for tax credits to make child care more affordable.

Currently families must make less than $39,000 a year to receive a tax break. Dayton wants to expand that to families with two or more children where the parents make up to $124,000.

Currently the average tax credit is $481. Under Dayton's plan the maximum tax credit would expand to $2,100.

At a news conference today, Dayton said, "The more people that can afford child care and dependent care, the more they're going to have the option to work, and I think many will choose to do so."

That's an idea the powerful Republican tax chair, Rep. Gregg Davids (R-Preston) likes.

"I'm very glad the governor has come around and is giving some credit back to hard working Minnesotans," Davids says. "I welcome it with open arms. We'll certainly give it a hearing in the tax committee."

"The numbers, we'll work on the numbers, but it's certainly something we're very interested in," he continues.