Full reimbursement for middle-income families
Backs off plan to push four-year-olds into public school system
The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has concluded its work on S.56, the childcare bill.
The fiscal picture and footprint of the bill are still unclear at this time, however, that discussion will now gain momentum in the Senate Committee on Finance. It is expected that the Committee will seek a payroll tax for about $100 million in spending under the bill for this year and then about $200 million in the next fiscal year. The Committee backed away from a previous proposal to push four-year-olds into the public school system, deciding instead to study the issue due to the effects that it would have on the private market.
The bill provides full reimbursement for those making up to 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL) compared to the current 150% of FPL and then reimburses on a sliding scale up to 600% FPL or about $180,000 for a family of four. The bill also includes $7.3 million in grants distributed by the Department of Children and Families to retain childcare workers.
In a rather large addition, Senator Jane Kitchel brought to the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, as well as the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs, a proposal to include parental leave only in the childcare bill. The proposal would cost about $15 million and would provide 12 weeks of leave to one parent. The plan would fully replace wages up to 200% of federal poverty guidelines, with a decrease in benefits up to a cap of 600% FPL. – Lake Champlain Chamber newsletter, March 17