Adding incentives to open child care centers in South Dakota

Childcare facilities and parents and battling the rising cost of quality learning in South...
Childcare facilities and parents and battling the rising cost of quality learning in South Dakota, with no end in sight.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:21 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Childcare in South Dakota is a $250 million industry, but the state is also losing out on $146 million in work productivity because of the lack of childcare.

Finding solutions to South Dakota’s childcare crisis is gaining momentum, but more than 1/3 of South Dakota kids don’t have access to childcare. Right now, the state doesn’t have bonuses for people to open a childcare center.

“We don’t have a lot of incentives to become licensed or registered currently. The more incentives we can provide to people, the more they’ll say, ‘Hey maybe I should open a childcare center in my home,’ or ‘Maybe I should invest in a piece of property and open a larger center in my community, because I know that’s the need,” said Kayla Klein, director Early Learner South Dakota.

Last year, a bill was introduced to reduce the property tax for childcare centers but failed. In Wyoming, a similar bill is running through their legislature. While Klein says cutting property tax for childcare centers is a penny in the bucket, it is one more possible solution to the childcare crisis.

“The property tax, along with many other different incentives coinciding together,” explains Klein, a former childcare center owner. “Then I think you will eventually see some momentum making this a sustainable business.”

Klein says, she believes the best bill to cut property tax would be simple with the input of people in the childcare industry and property tax experts.