Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that the organizations do not endorse Prop. 2.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Area Foundation hosted Children at Risk on Tuesday as the organization discusses Prop. 2 on the ballot in the Nov. 7 Texas constitutional amendment election.
Children at Risk is on a 12-city tour across the state talking about Prop. 2, which would allow property tax exemptions by a county or municipality on all or part of the appraised value for childcare facilities serving low-income children.
Kim Kofron, the senior director of education for Children at Risk, said if passed, the proposition would improve access to childcare for working families.
“During COVID, we had an influx of federal money that really supported and propped up and kept open our childcare centers across the state, and that money has now sunsetted. It’s over, and so proposition two is going to be a small part to help fill in that gap,” Kofron said. “The margins of profit are very, very thin and minor for childcare centers and so anytime that we get an influx of support for childcare centers, that helps reduce the cost to parents, as well as help increase the wages for our childcare workers.”
Clay Stribling, the president and CEO of AAF, said employers rely on childcare access and is a significant driver of the Amarillo area’s economy.
“It brings in businesses, it frees up employees to go back to work, or to go to work in the first place. It gives families the ability to have a two-income family instead of a one-income family,” Stribling said. “This helps drive our region forward and the better our childcare system is both in Amarillo and in our surrounding communities, the stronger our regional economy is.”
Dan Rogers, the chair of the Potter County Republican Party, said he is against Prop. 2 for one specific reason.
“I’m against all property taxes. I don’t think we need property taxes,” Rogers said. “I think we need to go to sales tax on real estate and no property taxes. So when you buy it, you pay the tax, you’re done.”
He continued, “Most childcare centers are privately owned businesses. So we all want to help children, but is it fair to give a tax or a childcare center a tax break, but not a medical facility? I mean, you’re picking winners and losers and we don’t need to be doing that.”
If Prop. 2 passes, Kofron said the next step will be working with local officials to implement the changes and ensure local childcare centers benefit.
“Besides that, it will be continuing to work with our legislators. Prop. two isn’t going to fix the childcare issues, so we continue to work with the state and locals and federal government to continue to have an influx of more funding into childcare,” she added.
Children at Risk will host a similar press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 11 in Lubbock, along with the Lubbock Area United Way.