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I’m a child care provider. Washington’s capital gains tax is critical for the families I serve.


I’m a child care provider. Washington’s capital gains tax is critical for the families I serve.

May 01, 2024 | 3:00 pm ET
By Diana Llanes Macias
I’m a child care provider. Washington’s capital gains tax is critical for the families I serve.
(Photo by Rebecca Rivas/Missouri Independent)

As the owner of a bilingual child care center, I’m up every day before 6 a.m. to make sure the kids at my center get started with a high-quality, safe education while their parents are at work. This is often invisible work, but like most in my community, I want to leave things better for the next generation, including the children in my program. 

Access to child care was critical for working families during the pandemic and still today. High-quality child care is expensive, and the new capital gains tax helps families afford the cost. By taxing the enormous profits the super-rich earn by selling stocks and bonds, our state brought in almost $900 million last year. This revenue helps to make quality care at child care facilities like mine more affordable for families, provides resources to K-12 public schools, and helps pay for school repairs and construction across the state. 

The capital gains tax also made our tax code more fair. It’s no secret that Washington’s tax code is rigged, with low- and middle-income earners, like me, paying more than our share for things we all depend on – like schools, roads, health care and child care. Meanwhile, the wealthiest in our state pay a smaller proportion of their income in taxes. 

Unfortunately, a hedge fund manager and the state’s Republican Party chairman teamed up to propose Initiative 2109, which would repeal the capital gains tax. That measure will appear on this November’s ballot. It could cost our kids and schools billions of dollars over the coming years and would give a tax break to millionaires and billionaires.

While the rich seem to be doing fine, the kids in my program need all the help they can get. 

Many were born during the pandemic and are behind in social-emotional learning and verbal communication because of quarantine policies. All of them need age-appropriate play and games, a daily routine they can count on, nourishing meals, and trained staff to teach literacy, math, and problem-solving so they are ready for kindergarten. 

If I-2109 passes, I could lose as much as half of my enrollment. This would be catastrophic for my small business and families who could no longer afford care. Missed learning for children and missed hours for working parents won’t help Washington. The potential consequences could be devastating to an entire generation of early learners. 

Early learning matters. Data show investments in quality early learning programs pay off, with better outcomes in school and careers. Former students at college or working their first jobs have told me about the difference I made. They remember me as their very first teacher and recognize the strong, successful start they got from early learning.

Families in my child care center get peace of mind and know their children are safe, cared for, learning, and getting ready for kindergarten. My staff and I are trained professionals who teach, nurture, and give their children a strong start and an early love of learning.

It’s disappointing that the wealthy few care more about a tax break than the future of our kids. But I know Washington’s families understand and value the important work child care providers like me do. The capital gains tax is crucial for supporting these services and so many other important programs for children in Washington.