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Advocates said the funding is key to make Connecticut an affordable place for families.
The Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee voted this month to adjust Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed budget to include the Trust Fund, using a portion of the state’s nearly $4 billion surplus. The fund would finance a state-led Child Tax Credit, providing monthly payments to parents.
Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, the committee co-chair, said Connecticut cannot wait for federal action.
“At this time, especially, every dollar does matter,” Scanlon asserted. “There’s thousands upon thousands of people right now who are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t really know how they are going to afford these escalating prices. And something like the Child Tax Credit, it would make a big difference to folks.”
The state tax credit would deliver $600 per month to low-income families. The Connecticut legislative session ends on May 4 and the budget must be finalized by June 30.
The trust fund also would support an initiative to increase the supply of infant and toddler care in the state by providing higher subsidy amounts.
Merrill Gay, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, said it would allow child care programs to pay staff higher wages and open more slots for families to access care.
“If you invest in high-quality early childhood, you get a much better return on that investment,” Gay contended. “Kids are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to go on to college, just a whole slew of reasons why spending money in those first three years of life makes sense.”
The average cost of child care at a licensed center in Connecticut is around $18,000 a year, Gay said. The proposed budget includes nearly $125 million in child care funding.