(The Center Square) – Democratic lawmakers in Madison want more money, not fewer rules, for child care providers in the state.
A group of Democrats on the Assembly’s Committee on Children and Families on said deregulation is not the answer.
“As federal funding dries up for the successful Child Care Counts program, child care providers across the state will be facing the choice of raising rates or closing their facilities. We need a comprehensive solution, including continuing Child Care Counts in order to maintain and improve the child care infrastructure in our state,” the Democrats said in a joint statement.
The group includes Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, Rep. Robyn Vining, D-Wauwatosa, Rep. Lee Snodgrass, D-Appleton, and Rep. Darrin Madison, D-Milwaukee.
Instead, they want $356 million to replace the coronavirus subsidy child care providers in Wisconsin received for the past two years.
“Funding child care is an investment,” the Democrats said. “Instead of providing any funding and resources for our hardworking childcare providers, the proposed ‘solutions’ simply rely on cutting regulations.”
Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, told The Center Square last week when the deregulation plans were introduced, that giving child care providers more flexibility will help get more kids into daycare.
“Excessive regulation of child care is contributing to the affordability issue, but many in the child care industry have signaled opposition to any regulatory reforms that would help to bring down the cost for families,” Stroebel said.
He also said it would be a bad bet for Wisconsin to simply replace the federal child care dollars with state money.
“We should not use finite state dollars to fill the holes created by massive federal government deficit spending. The Child Care Counts program amounts to the state buying down labor costs. No long-term plan or exit strategy has been articulated by the proponents of the program, many of whom have stated that a continuation of the program would amount to a continuation of the status quo. In other words, it wouldn’t open up additional slots at child care facilities,” Stroebel said.
The Republican deregulation plans include:
● AB 388 – Which would create a child care center renovations revolving loan program
● AB 389 – Which would create a new category of child care centers, called large family child care
● Centers that can have between four and 12 children.
● AB 390 – Which would allow people as young as 16 years old to work as a child care assistant.
● AB 391 – Which would increase the ratio of kids to workers at child care centers, and allow child care providers to have more kids in their buildings.
● AB 392 – Which would allow for more kids at home-based day care centers.