April 26, 2012

Kicking a hornet's nest

For several months now, rumors have been floating around West Virginia about major cuts to child care programs for working families. If true, and I'm pretty sure something on that order is at least being discussed, I think it might be in the best interests of Governor Tomblin to reconsider.

For starters, unlike most states, West Virginia is not in fiscal trouble. It has enjoyed budget surpluses for the last several years, even while making major cuts in corporate taxes. There's no excuse.

Second, according to the Self Sufficiency Standard for West Virginia, child care costs for those who pay out of pocket can be astronomical. Depending on family composition and age of children, it can easily be more expensive than housing or food and much higher than tuition at a state college or university. Further, these costs hit families at a time when earnings are low.

Third, it's kind of hard to hold down a job if you don't have child care. Some people would have to quit.

Fourth, #3 might be an embarrassment to someone running on a "more jobs" platform. I imagine that his opponents could have a field day with that.

Fifth, eliminating child care subsidies would harm child care centers and probably cost more jobs in that arena.

Sixth, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that early childhood care and education is vitally important for future well being and offers a major return on investment.

Seventh, I'm pretty sure...OK, I'm certain...that all kinds of groups around the state are ready to make loud bad noise about this and I'm pretty sure the media is interested as well.

It's one thing to accidentally disturb a hornet's next. It's another to deliberately kick one, which is something I generally think of as not a very good idea.

I hope the folks in power stop to think a little before they kick this one.

Just saying.

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