Too costly, too much government-run childcare
by Rep. Art Peterson
I’ve received emails from some folks urging me to vote for the child care bill, which turned out to be bill H.217. There are two reasons I voted NO to the bill: first, I don’t feel its the role of government to get this deeply involved in the raising of children and two, it costs too much and raises taxes.
Here are some facts and figures on this bill:
- The price tag is $130M a year in new yearly appropriations. That number will go up, not down, over time,
- It adds 26 permanent positions, 11 in child care and 15 in the tax department, to state government,
- It will institute a new payroll tax to pay for the program on every working Vermonter,
- Families whose income is well over $150k/year will be eligible for a subsidy on child care payments depending on family size,
- The children of non-citizens will be eligible for subsidies,
- It will study establishing mandatory pre-Kindergarten schooling, which if instituted will add significantly to the cost.
I would support a bill that would give tax incentives to employers who provide child care. I would heartily support a bill that would look at removing some of the regulatory requirements that prevent private child care providers from expanding, and prevents new ones from starting up. But I won’t support another huge state government expansion that will cost all of us a lot of money.
Depending on what source you look at, Vermont is one of the top few most heavily taxed states in the country. This will add significantly to that burden. Child care is not the state’s business and we should stay out of it at all cost. Just one guy’s opinion.
The bill passed on the last day of the 2023 session on a roll call vote of 118-27.
The author is a member of the House of Representatives for Clarendon and West Rutland.