(VitalNews.org) – The Governor of Virginia made an announcement last Thursday that the upcoming budget plan will include increased state spending toward early education and childcare programs.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced last week that the budget plan for the next two fiscal years will feature more funding for childcare and early learning programs. In a speech delivered in Richmond on December 7, Youngkin said the purpose of the proposal would be to ensure families aren’t left struggling after the end of pandemic-era funds used by the federal government to expand such initiatives.
Youngkin said that “at the heart” of the proposal is making sure that Virginia continues “to serve the population being served today and that dollars follow the children on their parents’ best wishes.” Families will begin losing coverage by March 2024 if the programs aren’t given increased allocations to improve their long-term viability. Increased funding for these programs is only one part of a larger two-year budget proposal Youngkin’s administration is developing, which will be presented to Virginia lawmakers on December 20.
The budget calls for more than $448 million for each fiscal year to be allocated to an initiative the governor dubbed “Building Blocks for Virginia Families.” Youngkin said the new figure is $180 million more than the current levels for each fiscal year. The governor’s office shared details of the plan and said some of the funding is meant to help low-income working families continue to receive public funding support. The plan will also try to alleviate the ongoing teacher shortage.
Youngkin mentioned the struggles facing US parents as they try to afford and find good quality childcare services, citing reports about how many women had to leave the workforce during the 2020 pandemic because of concerns related to childcare. “This is about families,” the governor said, and “about moms.”
The budget will most likely go through multiple revisions next year, especially with Democrats set to dominate both chambers of the General Assembly. Often, governors will lay out parts of their budget proposals ahead of a formal presentation in order to highlight key elements of generate early public support.
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