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WA voters want more child care investments, new poll finds


WA voters want more child care investments, new poll finds

Jun 13, 2024 | 9:00 pm ET
By Laurel Demkovich
WA voters want more child care investments, new poll finds
(Getty Images)

Washington voters want more money invested in child care and support more taxes on wealthy people and businesses to pay for it. 

And, in a poll released Thursday, 87% of those surveyed said child care and early education will be priorities for them when casting ballots this November.

A coalition comprised of Children’s Campaign Fund Action, OneAmerica Votes and MomsRising conducted the poll of about 800 voters statewide. 

Seventy percent backed a proposal to cap what families pay for child care at 7% of their household income and provide a living wage for providers. It’s a package pushed by child care advocates to lawmakers in recent years but is likely a big fiscal ask. 

To cover the costs, those surveyed supported new options for state revenue paid for by Washington’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. Coalition members declined Thursday to disclose specifics of the options they asked about as they were waiting to bring their ideas to legislators and candidates.

“The most important thing is that voters support ensuring Washington’s wealthiest people and businesses fund child care because it is a critical part of our economy,” said Lauren Hipp, national director for early learning and Washington state at MomsRising

Washington already has a capital gains tax, which taxes proceeds from sales of stocks and bonds and directs that money into early learning and child care programs. Paying for the sweeping proposal sought by advocates would likely cost more than what the tax generates. It’s brought in $1.2 billion in its first two years of collections, but an initiative on the ballot this November could repeal the tax

The poll found bipartisan support for the approach of capping what families pay for child care and providing liveable wages. Among Democrats, it enjoyed 90% support. But a majority of both Republicans – 56% – and Independents – 63% – approved it too. Voters in all parts of the state supported the  proposal, though it was much higher in Seattle, 72%, than in Spokane, at 61%, and Yakima, at 63%.

And, when ballots are in their hands, 62% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to back a state legislator who supported this proposal. 

Hipp said Thursday that child care and early learning would remain top of mind this election season when coalition members talk with candidates. And she added that they would work on getting the proposal through the Legislature in 2025. 

“Voters are clear that they want lawmakers to do more,” she said.