Raleigh Spat: Taxpayer Support For Child Care

One of the many distortions of governmental handling of Covid-19 was the extension of aid in Washington to cover rising costs in child care centers. That money is now drying up.

Pressure is therefore being placed on the Raleigh Republicans to replace this money with state taxpayer dollars.

It was not terribly long ago when providing taxpayer money to support child care costs was very controversial. After all, it is precisely the wrong thing to do.

Here in North Carolina, former Governor Jim Hunt pushed the Smart Start program. Governmental support of child care has become deeply ingrained over the years.

WRAL gives us a sampling of what is taking place in Raleigh:

The gap is raising concerns among business leaders, state lawmakers and advocates for the poor that thousands of people will be forced to quit their jobs, or scale back on hours, if they lose affordable child care.

Families marched Wednesday in downtown Raleigh urging lawmakers to do more to protect child care.

Eshawney Gaston, who has two children and a third on the way, said the hot weather could not keep her away from joining the rally.

In a one-on-one interview with WRAL News, Gaston said she’s worried about the loss of federal child care funding.

Gaston currently works the night shift, making after-hours child care vitally important. Now, she believes that aftercare is in jeopardy.

“I’m trying not to cry … because it is a touchy subject,” she said. “I feel like it is going to ruin my life.”

Hundreds of child care businesses are at risk of closing down, industry insiders and advocates say, unless the state government steps in to replace some or all of the federal money that was approved as part of a pandemic-era relief package. Congress didn’t renew the funding, which will now run out at the end of June.

Democratic state lawmakers say the state has the money to fund the gap and could do so as part of a new state budget, which begins on July 1. But they fear the Republican-led legislature isn’t taking the problem seriously enough.

The North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a powerful conservative business lobbying group, lists child care funding is the top issue on its legislative agenda for this session.

Many advocates said they have written and called House Speaker Tim Moore in efforts to convince him to get Republican lawmakers to dip into the state’s $1 billion surplus to help fund childcare.

According to Democratic state lawmakers, the state has the money to fund the gap and could do so as part of the new state budget, which begins on July 1.

“This is not just a childcare issue, this is a moral issue,” Cassandra Brooks, another child care provider, said. “This is not a luxury, it is necessity.”

All of these forces are militating toward the idea that state taxpayers must ramp up dramatically the amount they pay for other people’s child care. The Raleigh Republicans had recently passed Medicaid expansion, and now another massive entitlement protection is being demanded.

The welfare state knows no limits.

We can do better than this. Parents need to take responsibility for their own kids. Governmental support drives up the costs– as we have seen in other contexts including higher education, health care and the like.


2 thoughts on “Raleigh Spat: Taxpayer Support For Child Care

  1. I think it it may be to late. The camel’s nose is already under the tent.

    But think about this. Here are two surprising facts about welfare and poverty in the United States: (1) we are spending an enormous amount of money on people at the bottom of the income ladder and 2) all that spending does a very poor job of meeting human needs.

    And here is a surprising opportunity: if we took all of the money we are currently spending on anti-poverty programs and gave it in cash to poor families, there would be no problem of poverty in this country

    We might still have some homelessness – reflecting mental illness or drug abuse. But conventional poverty would be a thing of the past.

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