Pagan Budget Amendments Would Have Helped Families

Republicans vote down free federal money for increased child care
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LANSING — State Representative Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) offered three amendments during today’s meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. All three amendments dealt with improving the lives of Michigan children and their families. Unfortunately, all three amendments failed..

“I am frustrated and disappointed that my amendments, which would have brought more money to assist Michigan’s most vulnerable families, kept better accounting of how we are spending allocated dollars, and helped low-income families with the support they need to better their children’s lives, were voted down,” Pagan said. “We had the opportunity to make positive, common-sense changes to the budget, and although the fight is not over, ideology got in the way of good public policy.”

Pagan’s first amendment would have required raising the initial eligibility requirements for the Child Development and Care (CDC) program — which provides subsidies for child care assistance to low-income families so parents can go to work, school or job training — to the highest level possible while maintaining a sustainable program. Currently, the bill caps an eligibility increase at 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which is a household income of $25,200 for a family of three.

“Funding for the CDC program carries an eligible federal match, so by having an artificial entrance cap in place, we are leaving behind federal funds, at no additional cost to our state budget,” Pagan said. “Helping more families become self-sustaining by allowing them to pursue a career or education to better themselves and their families, while maximizing the use of available federal funds is a win-win.”

Pagan’s second amendment would have added an additional evaluation requirement to the CDC program as it pertains to the one-time expansion to cover the children of Flint in the wake of the water crisis. This amendment would have fostered a more open and transparent process to ensure thatMichigan is spending taxpayer money responsibly. Pagan’s third amendment would have reinstated funding to cover travel expenses for the State Board of Education. The funding was removed in retaliation of the board issuing draft guidelines for schools to make students feel safe and welcome.

“Our budget is a reflection of our priorities, and these issues — helping families help themselves, being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, making our schools as safe and welcoming as possible — should be priorities we all share,” Pagan said. “I will continue to fight to get these amendments adopted as the budget continues through the legislative process, and I will not stop advocating for policies that make Michigan a better place for families, children and students.”