While we believe conceptually that there are potential benefits contained in LB 547 and its companion bill LB 489, we have concerns specifically related to the funding as envisioned by LB 547.
Child care is one of the most essential work supports for families and the high cost of child care can be a barrier to work. In Nebraska, 26- 33% of family’s budget is spent on child care . This makes the child care subsidy program essential for many working families. As written, LB 547 would indefinitely segregate the majority of the quality dollars from the federal block grant and reallocate the dollars to the early childhood education endowment for building partnerships between child care organizations and schools. While we don’t doubt that these dollars will have a positive impact on some children in our state, we are concerned about the overall impact on the child care subsidy program as a whole and on Nebraska’s nascent efforts to scale up quality child care in the subsidy program and beyond.
While we believe that LB 489 is good conceptually, we are concerned about the long term impact of reallocating the majority of quality funding away from an already under resourced program as contained in LB 547. We need to ensure that the state has the resources it needs both to meet new federal requirements as and to scale up quality in child care system as a whole.
We appreciate Senator Campbell’s willingness to have an ongoing dialogue about how to best reach our shared goal of expanding access to quality child care and we hope to continue finding ways to move forward while ensuring that we don’t create long term financial challenges for the child care subsidy program.