Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thank you For Prioritizing Children and Working Families

Arizona State Senate
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, D-16
(602) 926-5864
March 12, 2009

Thank you For Prioritizing Children and Working Families

Last week, Senate Democrats urged that the Governor and legislature come forward and stand up for children and working families by using stimulus money to help restore the cuts made to child care subsidies. I am glad that on Monday morning Arizona’s working families can know that they can go to work on Monday and not have to quit their jobs or leave their children in harms way.

Without this funding, 15,000 children will lose this vital assistance and 5,100 more will be put on a waiting list.

Last week, we met with the Governor’s staff to review a proposal that would restore $18.2 million in federal stimulus money to backfill the FY 2009 cuts to child care assistance. This would keep the current eligibility requirements for families earning less than 165% of the Federal Poverty Level in place.

It does not expand the current program, but rather, keeps the status quo which will help thousands of Arizona families keep their jobs.

We are glad that this proposal is moving forward in a bi-partisan manner for Arizona’s children and working families. Although this is a win in the short-run for them, we know that this proposal does not address anything for the 2010 budget.

Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini wrote that subsidies are, “Not because we have an obligation to care for other people's children, but because it takes a village to raise an economy.” [Source: “Why should we pay for Laura's kids?,” March 12, 2009]

Child care subsidies keep working parents working and children in safe places. They keep child care workers in their own jobs and businesses running. They prevent additional foreclosures. The legislature should take that into consideration as we move into the FY 2010 budget and reduce ways that we do further harm to the economy.

Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez
Director of Communication, Senate Democratic Caucus

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