Lansing — The Michigan legislature passed a budget this week with historic investments in child care. The investments came after Governor Gretchen Whitmer repeatedly highlighted the need to ensure parents had a safe place to send their kids, employers had a pool of talent able to work and child care providers were paid enough to stay on the job.
Governor Whitmer and legislative leaders negotiated the deal and Whitmer immediately praised the budget, “The budget will make the biggest-ever one-time deposit into our rainy day fund, repair or replace nearly 100 bridges, expand childcare to 105,000 kids at low or no-cost, replace lead service lines, permanently raise pay for direct care workers, and do so, so much more. I look forward to continuing in the spirit of collaboration to spend the billions in federal dollars we have available to us from the American Rescue Plan and the billions more we are expected to receive from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill. When we come together, we are capable of making incredible progress and I am proud that we got this done.”
The investments in child care do three basic things:
- Increase eligibility for full coverage child care to about 105,000 more Michigan kids.
- Gives direct dollars to child care centers to stabilize their funding and retain staff
- Expands access through grants and additional funding for toddler and infant spots – helping those parents seek employment.
How the House Voted
After spending most of her first year in office advocating for solutions to child care, Representative Kelly Breen (D – Novi) joined 98 other representatives passing Senate Bill 82 99-6 with all Democrats present voting Yes and 6 Republicans voting No.
How the Senate Voted
State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D – Troy) has been a fierce advocate for fixing Michigan’s child care system since her election in 2018. In June of this year, she spoke out about the lack of child care opportunities on WDET Public Radio in Detroit. This week, she joined with her colleagues to vote unanimously for the bill.
Two Senators voted no on a separate bill for education funding. Senator Tom Barrett and Senator Jim Runestad were the only No votes.