State cuts to child care credit will send families and Kentucky backwards, leaders say

02/07/2013 11:05 AM

The House and Senate budget chairmen and the governor this week lamented cuts the state is making to a program that provided stipends for low income families to pay for child care.

Democratic Rep. Rick Rand, the House budget chairman, told his committee members on Tuesday that those cuts will have a ripple effect on the economy as low income workers run out of options for child care. The cuts will eliminate the stipend for roughly 22,000 families who earn between 100 percent and 150 percent of the poverty rate and rely on the extra funding for child care.

And that, Rand said, could cost taxpayers more in the long run.

“Those are people who are probably working and making a minimum wage … or very close to that. And probably the only way they can work is if somebody helps them with their childcare,” Rand said. “My guess is some of those people will say, it’s easier for me to just be on welfare.”

On Thursday, hundreds of families and school students and advocates swarmed the Capitol to call attention to the needs of children, including the effects of the child care stipend cuts.

Gov. Steve Beshear also mentioned it in Wednesday’s State of the Commonwealth Address.

“We cut funding for child care assistance programs that help low-income families return to the workforce and that allow relatives to care for children taken from their parents,” Beshear said. “As a result, for the next year and a half, we won’t be helping any more low income parents return to work. And because eligibility requirements will become stricter, some parents who are already working will no doubt have to quit.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal first reported the cuts to the program caused by a $86.6 million shortfall.

Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Audrey Haynes told Pure Politics she deeply regretted the cuts but that the cabinet had exhausted all other options. Here’s her interview from Wednesday:

And Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper, I-Paducah, said understands the potential economic effects of families. But he said he hasn’t had in depth talks with Beshear’s administration and cabinet officials yet. Here’s what he said:


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