Gov. Cox’s budget asks for child care funding

Dec 5, 2023, 6:45 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2023, 6:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox released his budget proposal Tuesday, and a piece of it includes some money to help with child care in Utah – both the cost for families and the space for centers.

But some groups argue it’s a drop in the bucket.

The ask is for $5 million for a “public-private partnership” and another $4.7 million to expand the child tax credit. The proposal also includes $54.2 million for vulnerable youth, creating a total investment of $68.8 million in what the governor’s office calls “strengthening families.”

The total budget proposed by Cox was $29.5 billion.

The plan is for a bill in the upcoming legislative session to propose a creative solution. The state will use existing office spaces and pay to convert them into a child care center, contracting with a private business that would pay to staff it.

The bill is being run by Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, and championed by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.

“What we’ve heard is that in the private sector, the gap remains because they’re not able to find the space,” said Sophia DiCaro, executive director of GOPB.

She said the details are still fluid, and the exact cost will depend on each project, but said that $5 million “could maybe cover one to three locations.” It’s not known yet how many children that might serve.

Child care advocates argue it’s not enough

Groups like the nonprofit Voices for Utah Children said they are supportive of any public investment in child care. However, they view $5 million as a drop in the bucket to address Utah’s child care needs.

“What we’re really seeing is more like $250 million a year would really make a significant impact,” said Jenna Williams, the group’s policy analyst.


Williams said they asked Cox for that and will ask the legislature for a similar number.

“We know it’s a big ask, but that’s kind of what happens when you’ve never invested in an area before,” Williams said.

DiCaro said the funding shows the state values families. She argues that there would be zero funding in the governor’s budget proposal for child care if the administration didn’t value it.

“I know this is going to be a tight budget year. And I think that this is a strong reflection of that priority,” she said.

“We’re trying to push toward solutions like that because we obviously have limited resources as a state and we want to do what we can to keep taxes low and to make sure our economy is thriving,” said DiCaro.

Expanded child tax credit

Included in that $68.8 million, is an ask from the governor for $4.7 million to expand the child tax credit.

Right now, a bill passed in 2023 provides a child tax credit of up to $1,000 for kids ages 1 to 3, this money would be used to expand it to kids from newborns to age 5.

“Does it pay for everything? Probably not. As you know, it takes a lot to raise children but it does provide a way to help a young family,” said DiCaro.

Williams said they would ask the Utah Legislature to make that tax credit refundable.

“If it was made refundable, families would be able to get a tax refund of their funding and be able to see some real impact for groceries and gas and kids clothes and all that.”

Williams said she hopes the legislature will recognize the economic benefit of providing child care.

“I think (child care) is considered to be a private family issue for a lot of people. I’m not sure people can understand how it connects to the greater economy, to family stability, to the birth rate,” she said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A photo of a tree blown over in a park in a Nephi from high winds on March 2, 2024, (Craig Oswald)...

Brianna Chavez

Strong winds leave behind damage across Utah

From uprooted trees to flying trampolines, most of the state experienced strong wind gusts that left behind damage for many.

9 hours ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Mark Jones

18-year-old arrested for alleged involvement in a shooting death of another person

A 18-year-old man has been taken into custody by police in connection to a shooting late Friday night in South Salt Lake that left one person dead.

12 hours ago

Some residents in Salt Lake County woke up   and in one case, a vehicle.(Mark Less, KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero

South Jordan residents react to waking up and seeing thousands of tumbleweeds in front of their homes

Homeowners in Daybreak react to waking up Saturday morning and seeing tumbleweeds surrounding their homes.

14 hours ago

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah....

Mark Jones

Delays, cancelations reported at Salt Lake City International Airport

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah.

15 hours ago

power outage map...

Cary Schwanitz

Rocky Mountain Power scrambles to repair outages affecting thousands

Rocky Mountain Power crews planned to work around the clock this weekend repairing power lines as winds up to 65 mph pummeled Utah.

15 hours ago

Several people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen...

Alex Cabrero

Tumbleweeds pile up in front of homes in Daybreak

Many people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen or so.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Gov. Cox’s budget asks for child care funding