Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Great news! Early education and care got a financial boost earlier this month when Governor Charlie Baker signed a $3.76 billion economic development bill into law.

As our FY’23 budget webpage explains, this investment includes “an additional $150 million to continue the C3 Stabilization Grants through the end of the fiscal year in June 2023, and an additional $315 million in the newly created High-Quality Early Education and Care Affordability Fund.”

We are grateful to the Legislature for passing this bill and to the governor for signing it.

In a State House News story that ran in the Sentinel & Enterprise, Baker says Massachusetts can invest in child care and be fiscally prudent:

“Recognizing the importance of childcare investments, I am approving sections in this bill that redirect $315 million from the Commonwealth Taxpayer Relief Fund to the High-Quality Early Education & Care Affordability Fund. However, we can invest in childcare and make sensible tax changes at the same time. With the state in a historically strong fiscal position, the tax cuts that the Legislature has committed to prioritizing next session will be affordable without a special set-aside.”

A WBUR report focuses on the relief for some workers, noting:

“Peter MacKinnon, president of SEIU local 509, which represents service workers, said the additional funding for human service workers and child care workers ‘goes a long way to show that we prioritize that work.’

“MacKinnon said, on average, the lowest paid workers in human services make roughly $16 to $17 per hour. This led to an exodus of workers during the pandemic, prompting many day care and other centers to shut down or reduce services.

“ ‘You can make more money at Target,’ MacKinnon said. ‘Our goal in this is to make sure that everyone gets at least $20, and even $20 an hour is probably not enough.’

MacKinnon called the economic development effort ‘the start of some transformative funding.’ But, he added, the industry needs a more permanent stream of state funding to attract enough workers.”

To learn more, check out the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s breakdown of all the other investments, including healthcare, housing, transportation, business support, and other areas.

And be sure to thank the governor and the Legislature for their investment in early education and care.