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Nebraska Supports A Quality Early Childhood Workforce
Parents, child care providers and local communities across the state recognize the importance the early years play in determining success in school and later in life. In an effort to contain significant remediation expenditures in K-12 and other systems, the Nebraska Legislature in recent years has made targeted investments to close the achievement gap for children most at risk of failing in school before they arrive at kindergarten. While these locally controlled, fiscally accountable investments have been effective, they reach less than 30% of young children most at risk, largely because Nebraska lacks enough skilled early childhood professionals to deliver high-quality early learning opportunities statewide.
To support the current early childhood workforce and encourage the additional workforce needed, the Legislature recently passed LB889, the School Readiness Tax Credit Act. This legislation will help close the achievement gap at the time it is most effective and least expensive to do so by providing tax credits to the programs and individuals serving children most at risk of failing in school.
LB889 creates two tax credits:
(1) a nonrefundable credit for early childhood care providers who serve children at risk and who have demonstrated they offer the level of quality that closes the achievement gap; and
(2) a refundable credit for individuals working in the early childhood field with emphasis on community child care providers.
These credits will be available for programs and individual childhood professionals beginning in 2017. The bill passed on a 42-5 vote on Day 58 of the 60-day session. It was presented to the Governor on April 12.