Bright Spots in the Governor's Budget proposal
We have been spending the last several days unpacking the Governor’s proposed budget and there is a lot to like and some questions that are yet to be answered. This is only the Governor’s proposal and not necessarily what will be in the final budget once it is negotiated and passed. The Governor’s budget checks off several of our legislative priorities this session:
- Doubling the kinship care stipend from $75 per child per month to $150 (the stipend is financial support provided to grandparents and other relatives who step in to take care of children in times of abuse and neglect).
- Fully restoring district additional assistance (DAA) two years ahead of schedule (this is money schools use to buy textbooks, curriculum, technology, and new school buses).
- Increase safe, quality child care options by adding $23 million in federal investments to the child care subsidy program for low-income working parents.
There are other investments in children such as $38 million in ongoing funds for school counselors, social workers, and school resource officers (SROs). We are also pleased to see incentives to encourage the adoption of children with significant special needs and sibling groups.
That said, it is still unclear how the $23 million in federal child care subsidy programs will be utilized and if the new federal money coming to Arizona will be included in a final appropriation. Our position is that these dollars should be invested in increasing the subsidy rates so that they match the real costs that parents face when paying for child care.
One thing is clear: we will fight tirelessly to ensure our tax dollars are being spent on our children.