* As we’ve discussed before, the state’s child care program is pretty much broke. From the governor’s office…
The budget signed by (former) Governor Pat Quinn last year did not provide adequate funding for the entire Fiscal Year 2015. As a result, the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) faces a $296 million hole and state-funded payments to the program will cease this month unless a responsible solution and appropriate funding source is found. CCAP continues to operate on Federal funding, but those funds only support half of the program, which will result in payment delays after February 1.
Finger-pointing aside (and it’s justifiable), this is a serious problem.
* Child care providers just received a memo from the state…
“Beginning in February providers will experience a delay in payments for child care services through June 30, 2015.
The funding shortfall may also result in service reductions to the Child Care Assistance Program.
In the past we have combined Federal funds with State funds in order to pay the monthly bills for child care services; however, this is no longer possible as only Federal funds remain. This means that we are unable to make CCAP payments to providers until the latter part of the month, which is when we receive our Federal funding.
Because the allocation of Federal funding is not enough to pay an entire month, unpaid bills will be carried over to the next month and payment delays will get progressively longer each month.”
There are a whole lot of small, owner-operated child care providers out there who are not going to survive very long.
And when that happens, working parents will have to scramble to find somebody else, or even quit their jobs. Same goes for parents in school.
* GOP state Sen. Dave Syverson was quoted in a story posted earlier today…
[Syverson] warned that as soon as Feb. 1 childcare providers could not be receiving reimbursement from the state unless the General Assembly passes a supplemental bill.
“(But) if we don’t pass a supplemental, then the money dries up in the account and the day cares don’t get paid and all of these families that are currently out there working, most of them at minimum wage and low-wage jobs, they’re out of luck,” added Syverson.
Letting the money dry up would create a ripple effect and force many daycare centers to close, said Richard Wooten, associate pastor at Faith-Walk International Church in Englewood.
“The local economy would collapse if daycare centers start shutting down especially in communities already battling high unemployment. Parents would not be able to go to work and that means less money spent on goods and services,” said Wooten
…Adding… Soccermom notes…
Passing a supplemental does not put money into GRF. No more than writing a check puts money in your account.
That’s correct. They’ll have to find the money somewhere, either through new revenues or skimming special state funds. Moving “extra” GRF around probably won’t work because, well, there is no extra GRF money right now.
*** UPDATE *** Riopell…
State Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat and top budget negotiator, says Rauner has a solution. He says there’s about $700 million in surplus money in dozens of accounts across state government that could be used to fill the hole. The budget was crafted to allow the governor to transfer some of that money into the state’s general checkbook, Kotowski said.
Kotowski said Rauner should transfer the money out of those accounts, which collect money from various fees.
“This is a perfect time to draw from those surplus dollars,” Kotowski said.
Rauner has referred to this move in recent weeks, criticizing lawmakers and Quinn for counting the act of borrowing money from other accounts as income. His office disputes Kotowski’s opinion, saying in a budget memo that such methods aren’t available to fix the shortfall.
“Unfortunately, current law prohibits the governor from using common-sense budget management techniques to ensure the Child Care Assistance Program and other vital services endure for the rest of Fiscal Year 2015,” the memo reads.
They need to figure this out.