Lawmakers introduce legislation to help make youth sports more affordable for NJ families

Inflation and rising costs are being felt across New Jersey from the gas pump to the grocery store to even the local baseball field.
There is now a push in the Garden State to help bolster youth sports in New Jersey. One coach told News 12 New Jersey that he did not feel inflation until it was time to buy baseballs. He says that this effort is to make youth sports more affordable for families.
“I did realize about inflation when we went to order baseballs this year and $40 for a dozen balls were $60 and we go through a lot of baseballs,” says Jeff Ware, Little League district administrator.
A group came together on Wednesday to express support for new legislation, the PLAY Act. It has bipartisan support and would provide a tax credit of up to $350 per child for nonprofit community sports leagues. It would also put in a grant program to help fund these leagues.
The local leagues once turned to local businesses for support – and still do. But it now costs an average of $900 for one child to play one sport. Supports of the PLAY Act say this would ease some of that burden.
“Glove is like $100, bats are $200 – it adds up if you have more than one child,” says softball mom Dawn Driver.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer says it is important for kids who want to get involved in sports to have the opportunity.
“We need to get kids back on the field like this one so they can play sports, make friends and learn good life habits,” he says.
Gottheimer says that about 40% of children ages 6 to 12 play a team sport. He says this number needs to rise.