A plan to freeze child-care subsidies is one of the latest maneuvers from Nebraska lawmakers who are working to piece together a balanced budget.
Legislative Bill 335 would defer further increases to childcare providers who are receiving 18-month state subsidies.
John Cavanaugh, chief operating officer for the advocacy group Holland Children’s Movement, says these providers are serving families whose low wages would not cover the cost of child care without subsidies.
Lawmakers supporting the bill note it will hold the rate for subsidies, not cut them, and contend tough choices have to be made all around to address an estimated $895 million revenue shortfall in the next two-year budget.
It is estimated that nearly $7.5 million would be saved by the measure in the upcoming fiscal year.
The freeze could impact wages for child care providers, who Deb Ross, president of Nebraska Head Start, notes are some of the lowest paid workers in the state, and often have no benefits.
She says ensuring children have the best start possible should be top priority for Nebraska.
Nearly 30,000 children receive care through funding from the Child Care Subsidy Program.