OP-ED: Amid Crisis of Child Care Access and Affordability, Wisconsin Republicans Must do the Right Thing

In Wisconsin, thousands of families are in need of childcare – amounting to nearly 300,000 kids in need of care, according to a report from the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. Yet, only just over 100,000 childcare slots exist in the Badger State, and families lucky enough to secure a spot are spending nearly 20% of their income to cover the cost.

No family should have to bust their budget to afford child care that fits their needs, or be forced to make the difficult choice between paying for groceries and other bills, or affording quality child care for their kids.

That’s why progressive politicians like President Joe Biden and Governor Tony Evers are working hard to help, like President Biden’s recent announcement of federal childcare grant programs for low-income families, or Gov. Evers’ budget proposal to keep investing in Child Care Counts – a critical program that helps Wisconsin families afford quality childcare.

But, Wisconsin Republicans slashed Gov. Tony Evers’ plans for affordable childcare from the new biennial budget and have obstructed at every turn efforts to continue federal support for child care in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is already facing a crisis of child care access and affordability, with hundreds of thousands more children in need of care than existing open spots, and continuous bad decisions from Wisconsin Republicans have left Wisconsin families with little to no options and could force child care providers to close their doors for good.

Our elected lawmakers have a duty to ensure Wisconsinites have access to the tools we need to build a great life – and if we want to support Wisconsin’s workforce, economy, and future generations, we must make sure every family that needs it can find and afford child care.

It’s not too late for Republican lawmakers to follow progressives’ lead. With a $4 billion budget surplus sitting at the state Capitol, right-wing state legislators can still change course and do the right thing by making child care more affordable and accessible for Wisconsin families.

Call your legislators today at 1-800-362-9472 and demand they ensure no family has to worry if they can find or afford quality child care for their children.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.