With current conference on the final budget between the House and Senate underway, a new report from the Budget and Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, shows how critical the decisions will be in the coming days for the state’s youngest children.
North Carolina lawmakers last year failed to fully deploy federal dollars to their purposes and removed state commitments to child care subsidy programs, a critical tool in providing quality early childhood learning experiences to young children in low income families. The result is that we have persistent unmet needs across the state that include: approximately 33,098 eligible children on the waiting list for child care assistance and many more eligible but not receiving child care assistance, the presence of persistent child care deserts, and barriers to enhancing quality through professional development and compensation programs for early childhood workers.
House and Senate proposals for the next two-year budget (FY 2020 and FY 2021) continue to swap federal dollars and fail to commit additional state dollars compared to current services, holding down the state’s overall commitment to keeping child care affordable and accessible.
House and Senate budget writers propose to increase total funding for the child care subsidy program for each year of the biennium budget. However, each budget proposal would reduce state support for these programs and increase federal support compared to the base budget — that is, they would shift toward a greater reliance on federal funding to support this crucial program. They also shift federal dollars further away from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and toward CCDBG again by the end of the biennium. As explained below, each budget doubles down on supplanting state dollars compared with FY 2019, particularly the Senate budget in year two of the biennium.
More specifically, House and Senate budget proposals for FY 2019-20 do the following: Read more