Donald Trump. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled a plan to help working families that includes a mandatory six weeks of paid maternity leave and new tax credits for child care.

Trump proposed the child care initiative weeks ago but now has broadened the plan after criticism that his first proposal failed to address the needs of women and families who make little money.

His aides heralded the proposal as unprecedented for a Republican presidential candidate. Many Republicans oppose requiring paid maternity leave, arguing that it unfairly burdens businesses.

The New York Times reports:

The main thrust of Mr. Trump’s plan involves a reordering of the tax code so working parents can take an income tax deduction for care of up to four children and older-adult dependents. The deduction is available for individuals earning up to $250,000, or $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

There would also be child care spending rebates as high as $1,200 a year for families on the lower end of the income scale.

That is an amount that some critics called inadequate given that the cost of child care in some states is $10,000 to $20,000 a year.

Another proposal aimed at lower-income parents is a dependent care savings account, a version of a flexible spending account usually offered by employers. Such accounts would be universal and used for after-school or traditional child care, with a government match of $500 a year — a minuscule amount given the cost of such care, and given the difficulty that lower-income families have putting away money in such accounts.

Among the open questions are whether the deductions that working parents could claim would replace the existing earned-income tax credit, whether there would be an age cap for the children involved, and what the actual scale of benefit would be for people of various incomes.

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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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