Friday, June 16, 2023

"Pro-business" WisGOPs turn down $340 million for child care. Which

You figured that the GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee wasn't up to much good when they weren't starting their meeting until past 11pm on Thursday night. And when we woke up Friday morning, those fears were proven correct.

The Joint Committee on Finance voted 11-4 early Friday to reject a proposal from committee Democrats to spend $340 million on a program known as Child Care Counts, which began in November 2021 after Evers directed $351 million in federal pandemic relief dollars to keep the program running through the end of 2023....

The program had two goals: to increase access to child care statewide and to support child care workers with recruitment and retention efforts.

Advocates who pushed for the program continue with state funding warned that without the funding, parents could see large tuition hikes, worsening staff shortages, and the closure of programs.

For many of the state’s regulated child care providers, the monthly payments provided a stable revenue source without having to rely solely on parents. The program enabled many providers to increase staff wages, hire additional staff, or avoid tuition increases.
Wisconsin radio host and mother-to-be Kristin Brey was not having it.

In fairness, Robbin' Vos doesn't have children. 3 marriages, but no children...

To back up, here’s how the LFB describes what the Evers Admin wanted to do with Child Care, and what will likely happen to providers and child care services as a result.
DCF indicates that due to limited availability of remaining supplemental CCDBG funding, Round 3 CCC payments will be reduced by roughly 50% on and after August, 2023, through the estimated end of the program in January, 2024 (with the final payment in February, 2024). The add-on for children in care during non-standard hours will be removed. DCF will also remove the requirements to maintain staff compensation. Further, new restrictions will be imposed, such as that any CCC funds that are used to reduce the tuition expenses may only be directed towards children who receive Wisconsin Shares (and only to reduce the parent's costs).

[Gov Evers' State Budget] would provide $100,389,400 ($81,389,400 GPR and $19,000,000 FED) in 2023-24 and $240,719,300 ($221,719,300 GPR and $19,000,000 FED) in 2024-25 to establish the Child Care Counts program as a permanent child care quality improvement program. The funding increases include: (a) $100,000,000 ($81,000,000 GPR and $19,000,000 FED) in 2023-24 and $240,000,000 ($221,000,000 GPR and $19,000,000 FED) in 2024-25 to fund payments to providers; and (b) $389,400 GPR in 2023-24 and $719,300 GPR in 2024-25 to fund DCF's costs of administering the program, including 4.0 GPR positions, beginning in 2023-24….

Based on the foregoing, the Committee could decide to continue the CCC program at the funding level proposed under [the Evers budget]. The funding amounts provided are roughly equivalent to the annualized cost of the federally-funded Round 1 and 2 Stabilization payments. Funding in 2023-24 is reduced to account for federal funding that supports the CCC program for the first six months of the fiscal year. Afterwards, funding of $240,719,300 ($221,719,300 GPR and $19,000,000 FED) in 2024-25 would represent the annual cost going forward.
Instead of giving the full funding of Child Care Counts, the GOPs on Joint Finance only set aside $30 million for bonuses to child care subsidies by the old YoungStar program (which wasn’t needed under CCC because it took care of those bonuses).

The GOPs did allow one expansion of child care subsidies - to Wisconsin families making between 185% and 200% of poverty (this expands assistance for families of four that make between $55,500 and $60,000, for example), and reduced the "slope" of the cliff in benefits from losing $1 for every $3 of income to $1 for $5 in income. GOPs had no problem using $27 million in Federal funds for that, but it also became more challenging for those parents to find a place that's offering child care after yesterday.

Interestingly, in the same motion where GOPs cut off CCC, they threw in an additional $20.6 million to help local cops and social services agencies with enforcing child support laws and ensuring payments. WisGOPs also approved of $22 million to replace the ‘90s-era IT system that is used by staff throughout Wisconsin to track child support cases, and put in a web-based system.

So WisGOPs had little problem with spending money on improving the chances to catch deadbeats and make sure parents get their child support. And they also But when it comes to helping parents who are working by making child care more accessible and affordable? Not so much.

Nice priorities, and the "business leaders" at WMC will probably give their full support to this. Because God Forbid we give working Wisconsinites more options and abilities to succeed. Can't keeep wages down, hoard profits, and race to the bottom when you do that.


  1. Time and time again we hear how state republicans are going to attract more workers to Wisconsin to help fill all the vacant positions. Employers can't find people to work. Here we see state republicans doing their best to keep business from growing.

    1. That’s because they really don’t want things to be competitive and make things better for everyday Wisconsinites. They want desperate workers and the mediocre businessMEN to grab more market share without having to work harder or improve their product.

      When you realize that, then WisGOP mentality makes more sense.