Tax credit may ease burden for parents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tax credit may ease burden for parents

February 16, 2006

Dawson-- Some of you could soon get a new break on your taxes. Child care can be one of the biggest expenses a family pays. Some parents shell out thousands of dollars a year on care for their children but help is on the way.

It's business as usual at the Kandy Kane Day Care in Dawson. "This is an antelope. Say antelope. 'Antelope'," chimes the kids in response.

Kids learn new words, play games and spend time getting to know the people who become their extended family five days a week. "Sometimes we have to play doctors, fathers, mothers and all of that," says owner Bernice Shorter.

Day Care owner Bernice Shorter says those five days play a big role in the development of the children. "Very important, very important because our future depends on our young kids now. If they get that first foundation, we won't have to worry about them," says Shorter.

But for that foundation, many parents worry about the bills that come with it.

"Now that the gas prices have shot up, it is kind of hard to make ends meet to pay daycare prices," says Sharon Farris. Sharon Farris has to pay those prices twice. "It is hard raising one alone but it's hard," says Farris.

It's a hard struggle that could be eased pretty soon with a new state Child Care Tax Credit. About 200,000 Georgia families will save at least 10 percent on child care costs for the 2006 tax year. "Every bit counts for a single parent," says Farris.

"I just think it's going to be a great blessing for them," says Shorter.

That blessing could increase to about 30 percent by the 2008 tax year, even more money to ease struggles. "Feeding kids is a struggle. In the grocery store, 2 or 3 baskets of groceries cost $100," says parent Patty Pruitt.

Those savings may afford more parents the chance to send their kids to daycare centers throughout Georgia. "It is very hard for most of our people to pay daycare. Everything now is so expensive and a lot of kids would come but their parents just aren't able," says Shorter.

So come next month, the Kandy Cane Day Care Center may get a little fuller. "That's right, just fill it to the rim," says Shorter. And the results for kids and parents will be a little bit sweeter.

Governor Sonny Perdue pushed the bill that passed both the Senate and the House. Families must earn less than 75-thousand dollars a year to qualify.

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