Voters in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, have approved tax increases that would expand income-based subsidies for early childhood education.
As a result of the election, Cincinnati will increase property taxes to generate $15 million a year to make preschool more affordable. The city of nearly 300,000 people will now fully subsidize preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds in households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and provide progressively smaller subsidies to families with earnings above that level. An estimated 6,000 children will benefit from the initiative.
Dayton will be increasing income taxes by one-quarter of a percentage point to generate $4.3 million to make preschool more affordable. The city of over 140,000 people will provide income-based preschool tuition assistance to the city’s 1,900 4-year-olds to ensure “universal preschool,” city officials claim.
“Ohioans ... won game-changing victories that will create a brighter future for thousands of children a year.”
The two ballot measures’ successful passage marks an important achievement for progressive activists, who have increasingly made preschool affordability a policy priority at the state and local level. There is abundant evidence linking early childhood education to the healthy development of children’s brains, advocates note.
Ethan Rome, executive director of the Child Care and Early Learning Action Hub, which fought for passage of the two referenda, lauded the outcomes in both Ohio cities.
“While candidates for president and all types of elected office talked about the importance of affordable child care on the campaign trail, Ohioans took the issue into their own hands and won game-changing victories that will create a brighter future for thousands of children a year,” Rome said in a statement.