Washington DC- With the rewrite of No Child Left Behind hitting the Senate floor this week, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced an amendment that would fund universal pre-k by ending the corporate inversions tax loophole. The inversions loophole allows U.S. companies to claim they are headquartered overseas and avoid U.S. taxes. The measure could receive a vote as soon as this week. It would invest $30 billion in voluntary, locally driven pre-K programs. Casey has introduced a universal pre-k bill each Congress since 2008.
“Investing in pre-k is good for our nation’s children and for our nation’s economy,” Senator Casey said. “One of the best steps we can take in the long run to boost wages is to invest in early learning so that every child has a fair shot to achieve his or her dreams. The research into the benefits of early learning is overwhelming. If children learn more early in life they earn more later in life. This amendment is an opportunity to invest in our children and the long-term foundation of our economy while ending an egregious tax loophole that both parties agree needs to go.”
Research has shown that children who attend high?quality preschool programs are less likely to be held back in school, require remedial education, engage in criminal activity, or utilize the social safety net later in life. They are more likely to graduate from high school and have higher earnings as adults.
Despite the clear benefits of early childhood education programs, millions of young children from low- and moderate-income families lack access to high-quality, affordable preschool programs. The Strong Start for America’s Children Amendment is a five-year, innovative federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth-to-age-five continuum.
The Casey Amendment
Access to High-Quality Preschool
- Provides more than $30 billion in paid-for mandatory formula and grant funding to states, with a state match, for high-quality, full-day preschool for four-year-old children from families earning below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- States that provide universally available, voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for 4-year-old children can use funding to provide access to 3-year-olds that meet the same eligibility requirements.
- States in turn provide subgrants to local entities, including school districts and Head Start programs or licensed child care settings, to offer children high-quality prekindergarten programs. Such programs must include:
- Teachers with high qualifications that are paid comparably to K-12 teachers;
- Rigorous health and safety standards;
- Small class sizes and low child-to-staff ratios;
- Instruction that is evidence-based and developmentally appropriate; and
- Evidence-based comprehensive services for children.
- Mandatory funding is fully offset by limiting the ability of U.S. companies to invert and move their tax domicile overseas to reduce their tax liability.
Early Learning Quality Partnerships
- New Early Head Start and child care partnerships are supported to improve the quality of child care for infants and toddlers through age three.
- These partnerships will meet the high-quality performance standards of Early Head Start and blend federal funds to provide high-quality, full-day care.
Children with Disabilities
- The bill acknowledges that high-quality prekindergarten programs should be inclusive of services for children with disabilities.
- The bill recognizes the need for increased funding to serve children with disabilities in early childhood settings by increasing the authorization level for programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities and preschool grants for children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
- The bill expresses a sense of the Senate that federal funding for voluntary, evidence-based home visitation programs under the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program should be continued.
- This cost-effective program improves maternal and child health and increases school readiness for vulnerable populations by delivering voluntary parent education and family support services directly to parents with young children.
The Casey amendment would seek to end the corporate tax inversions loophole. Specifically, it would change the 80/20 ownership rule to a 50/50 rule. In other words, companies would need to be at least 50 percent foreign-owned (as opposed to just 20 percent) to escape U.S. tax jurisdiction. In effect, this would mean that a company looking to invert by merging with a foreign company would have to merge with one at least as large as itself. This significantly decreases the incentive to engage in an inversion.