Gov. Kathy Hochul aimed at helping the state’s deteriorating childcare funding, but business leaders and providers in the industry say they’re not the best ways the state can address the crisis.
Childcare Funding In New York
Last month Gov. Kathy Hochul In her budget proposed to extend eligibility for childcare assistance by boosting the limit to 85 percent of New York’s median income for a family of four, or approximately $93,200 annually. Hochul said it would allow about 113,000 more children to become eligible for childcare funding assistance. The governor’s spending plan promises to invest $7.6 billion in childcare funding over the next four years as a way to support New Yorkers address affordability barriers, including by increasing the income eligibility ceiling for subsidies from 200 percent to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The current 10 percent cap according to Hochul says her budget plan would expand access to care for 500,000 New York children to help the affordability crisis for parents.
Even though advocates believed the proposals a positive step for childcare, they also are debating further investments, particularly supporting incentives to expand the childcare workforce. The governor’s proposal includes $389 million in assistance for childcare programs, but Peter Nabozny, policy director with The Children’s Agenda in Western New York, claims that the short-term assistance will not help families in the long run.
Hochul’s Proposal Does Not Meet Childcare Advocates
The state has suffered steep reductions in the number of childcare funding providers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providers say Hochul’s ideas are promising, but that they’ll increase the number of families who can access care without addressing the childcare program and staffing crisis. Providers part of the Empire State Campaign for childcare funding says the final state budget must invest $1 billion to increase wages for the childcare workforce, especially with the governor’s commitment to tying annual increases in the minimum wage to inflation.
Moreover, Hochul’s proposal does not fulfill childcare advocates’ most wanted change in the industry: to make childcare universal regardless of immigration status. Advocates say that thousands of New York children are presently ineligible for childcare assistance because of work and citizenship eligibility requirements barricades.
New York Spends $10 Billion For Economic Development Incentives