Lawmakers Introduce Child Care Affordability Act

Holly Wagner | WCCO TV | February 14, 2012

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Two state lawmakers say before the legislature focuses on a Vikings Stadium, they should make up for big cuts to child care.

Rep. Nora Slawik and Sen. Mary Jo McGuire introduced the “Child Care Affordability Act” Tuesday, outlining a plan to help parents, especially those living paycheck-to-paycheck, pay for child care and help child care providers who are now receiving less money from the state.

Child care providers who are licensed through the state, mostly those who provide care to low-income families, recently took a 2.5 percent cut in the amount of funding they receive.

The proposed child care act would help bridge that gap in funding, and help more than 7,000 Minnesota families that are currently on a waiting list for child care assistance.

Lawmakers say the cost to help these families would range between $300 million and $500 million.

The authors of the bill also announced two plans to help pay for child care costs. They say they’d like to either tax the rich to come up with the funding or pass a bill that could be attached to a proposed Vikings stadium plan — one where the revenue could come from gambling. They say the money could fund child care, as well as the new stadium.

“How can we look at funding a Vikings stadium for $300 million when we can’t find money for kids at the Capitol,” said Rep. Slawik.

Day care providers stood by as the Child Care Affordability Act was announced, including Sharon Born, who works nights and weekends to try and make up the money she lost because of state cuts.

“I don’t want to work seven days a week, 16 hours a day. I am a single mom, you have to do, what you have to do,” she said.

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