Opponents of a measure boosting the eligibility for who can get taxpayer-funded child care assistance say there’s no way to pay for it.
Illinois offers child care assistance to a family of four making 162 percent of the federal poverty level, or income of $39,000 a year. A bill passed by Democrats would increase that to 250 percent, or $60,000, by summer 2017.
Last week, standing with the Service Employees International Union, state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, said the bill is a jobs bill “to expand the number of families who will have access, to expand the number of parents, especially mothers, who will be able to go to work.”
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State Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, said last month Democrats would have to tell constituents there’s no money to pay for the things they’ve promised. “We wonder why trust and confidence erodes with our taxpayers and we wonder why this hot mess just gets hotter.”
Republicans say the bill would cost an additional $700 million over two years, adding to the billions of dollars in backlogged bills and deficit spending.
Meanwhile SEIU is looking to set precedent with its legislation setting a $15 an hour minimum wage for home- and child-care workers.
State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, said the workers deserve a $15 an hour living wage. “They deserve health insurance. They deserve vital training and they deserve a contract.”
Sandack said before the bills passed last month that putting wages paid by tax dollars in state statute could create a run on lawmakers “where every state employee that maybe doesn’t really like their collective bargaining arrangement comes see us about a bill to go around the collectively bargained process.”
The Rauner administration says the measures giving home- and child-care workers $15 an hour would cost taxpayers $87 million more a year.