Mayor, Community Leaders Announce New Initiatives for Childcare and Fiscal Responsibility

October 11, 2006

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was joined today by a wide range of community leaders to announce a pair of new initiatives related to childcare funding and fiscal responsibility. The $600,000 package includes $175,000 in additional funding for childcare tuition assistance and approximately $425,000 to reduce the City’s debt burden, saving taxpayers in the long run.

“These two initiatives are sound investments in Madison’s future,” said Cieslewicz. “The additional childcare funding will provide access to quality childcare for more families, giving them peace of mind and helping them participate fully in the workforce. It has been estimated that every dollar invested in early childhood education saves seven dollars in the long run. The debt reduction initiative will reduce the City’s level of borrowing, resulting in significant savings for taxpayers.”

Funding for the two initiatives is made possible due to certain state aid payments coming in about $600,000 higher than projected when the mayor introduced his 2007 executive operating budget last week. The initiatives provide for:

- $175,000 in additional funding for childcare tuition assistance. This program helps put quality childcare within reach for low-income families. The mayor had already pledged an additional $50,000 for this program, so today’s announcement brings the total new investment in childcare to $225,000 compared to the 2006 budget. This is an increase of nearly 50% in this program and will allow about 45 more children to participate.

- Approximately $425,000 will be dedicated to reducing the City’s debt by paying cash for items that otherwise might be borrowed for. Much like a family might use unanticipated income to pay down credit card debt or a mortgage, this proposal would reduce the City’s long-term debt. The estimated savings to taxpayers due to lower debt service is $117,000 over ten years.

“Childcare assistance money is perhaps the single most important factor in opening up economic opportunities for low-income parents,” said Common Council President Austin King. “When your childcare costs more per hour than your job pays, you simply can’t afford to work. This is also an important investment for growing our economy. In an economy that nears full employment like Madison, it’s hard for businesses to expand if there aren’t enough workers to do the jobs. I commend the Mayor for choosing to fully fund childcare assistance which will help both families and employers throughout Madison.”

“Reducing Madison’s debt burden has been a top priority of mine for the past two years,” said Ald. Zach Brandon. “Today’s announcement shows a strong commitment to reducing our use of the long-term capital budget for short-term spending needs. This investment will result in real savings for city taxpayers over the course of the next 10 years.”

“Almost a year ago, we stood in a similar class room with the Mayor and thanked him for holding the line on City funding for the City’s Child Care assistance program,” said Wendy Rakower, Executive Director of Red Caboose Day Care and a member of the Dane County United Early Childhood Action Team. “At that time we asked him for a commitment to work with us to increase funding for this program. We also asked the community for a commitment to do the same. I was pretty cynical that we would ever be successful. Today, my hope has been restored! I have hope because through our actions, more low-income children are going to have access to the quality and accredited child care services that all children deserve.”

Today’s proposals will be introduced as an amendment to the mayor’s 2007 executive operating budget and are subject to approval by the Common Council. In addition to the mayor, the amendment is currently sponsored by Alds. Austin King, Zach Brandon, Brian Benford, Judy Olson and Tim Bruer.

Cieslewicz concluded, “Both of these initiatives are about making smart investments for the long run.”

Contact:
  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611