Editor's note: The proposed tax rate increase has been corrected.

Travis County is gearing up to call a tax election for this November to increase affordable child care options for low-income families following the approval of the Travis County Cares program May 14.

What you need to know

Officials are proposing a tax increase of $0.025 per $100 valuation, which equates to about $10 a month for the average Travis County homeowner, Judge Andy Brown said. The tax hike would bring in an estimated $76.75 million for affordable early childhood care and after-school programs.

The details

The funding will go toward increasing child care scholarships at day care and after-school programs in Travis County, building more high-quality child care centers and incentivizing private employers to offer child care stipends for their employees.

Brown said the funding would also go toward expanding child care options outside the regular 9-to-5 workday for parents who work night shifts, such as nurses and restaurant employees.

The funding will help provide child care to over 8,000 kids, Brown said.

“When we invest in child care, the whole community benefits. There are lower incarceration rates, lower health care costs and a better educated workforce,” Brown said. “It allows parents who want to return to the workforce to do so earlier, which benefits families and the economy overall.”

The why

Brown said the tax hike will alleviate the financial burden of child care for low-income families, as Travis County has the highest child care costs in Texas at $13,000 per child annually on average.

“That’s higher than the cost of in-state tuition at The University of Texas,” Brown said.

Travis County leaders hope the measure will also support child care providers.

“Without the sustainable funding, we would probably just wither away and start closing different facilities,” said Tamitha Blackmon, owner of Christian day care Nehemiah School. “Now we have support, but there's still a lot of work to do on this ballot.”

The context

The proposed tax election builds upon several moves local leaders have taken in the past year to make child care more affordable.

Austin City Council changed its land use rules in October to allow child care facilities to run out of many more properties throughout the city, and Travis County commissioners approved a 100% property tax exemption for qualifying child care centers in March.

What’s next

Commissioners have several more steps to take before the tax increase appears on the ballot this November. The court is expected to officially call the election later this summer.