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Business Leaders Applaud Michigan Legislators for Removing Budget Language that Would Have Forced Childcare Center Closures

June 27, 2024

LANSING – Michigan business leaders today applauded state legislators for removing budget language that would have had disastrous effects on Michigan’s childcare providers and families.

The budget language, which was removed after childcare and business leaders sounded the alarm on how the changes would cause childcare facilities to close, would have eliminated childcare funding for community-based organizations (CBO) and hindered childcare provider employment.

“Michigan small businesses applaud legislators for prioritizing affordable and accessible childcare in the budget without jeopardizing the progress that has been made on childcare availability,” said Kelli Saunders, vice president of policy and engagement at the Small Business Association of Michigan. “We will continue working with legislators to find solutions to the ongoing childcare crisis to ensure families and employers have access to the care they need.”

The coalition applauded legislators for supporting Gov. Whitmer’s proposed budget language that would protect access to essential childcare services.

“The Michigan Chamber thanks our policymakers for their work to support our state’s childcare industry, working parents and employers alike – and ultimately our economy – by removing these harmful provisions from the final budget,” said Leah Robinson, director of legislative affairs for the Michigan Chamber. “Working together, we can and must do more to find innovative solutions and partnerships that will build up our childcare providers and infrastructure. That’s what our state’s families and businesses are counting on.”

Progress has been seen through initiatives like the MI Tri-Share Initiative and legislative reforms enacted in 2022 but more time is needed for the full impact to be seen.

“The coalitions formed between the business community, childcare advocates, and the community-based organizations themselves is a testament to the vast support these childcare providers have throughout Michigan,” said Marcus Keech, director of Government Affairs at the Grand Rapids Chamber. “We look forward to supporting the partnerships between ALL childcare providers in the future. This is a win for the childcare industry, the children they care for, the families they serve, and the entire business community.”
Language attempting to create pay parity between private providers and publicly funded providers also was rejected. It would have created an unrealistic salary threshold since private providers do not have access to the same revenues public districts have. This requirement would have either forced providers to close their doors or significantly increase tuition, both situations that will hurt families struggling to access childcare.

“We’re glad to see the state is expanding childcare options for families and strengthening the system. As we saw during the pandemic, the lack of childcare was a real barrier to reentry to the workforce, particularly for women,” said Lindsay Case Palsrok, vice president of government affairs at Business Leaders for Michigan. “The more we can do to provide access to affordable childcare, the more it will help increase labor force participation, which is positive for both families and employers.”

There is only enough childcare available in Michigan for 31% of children under six years old. Existing policies approved Thursday morning by the Legislature will instead give the childcare industry time to grow in Michigan under existing policies.

The Michigan budget bills now head to Gov. Whitmer for her signature.

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