AB 2150 Defeated in Senate Appropriations

We are writing with disappointing news: yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee failed to remove AB 2150 (Santiago, Weber, & Gonzalez) from the suspense file. 

This bill was designed to help women like Alicia, a married mother of two, who recently lost her child care subsidy. Her monthly income was $25 over the state’s outdated income guidelines, currently based on data from 2005.

With the State’s increase in minimum wage, which we support, now there are thousands of families like Alicia. And sadly, such slight wage increases do not help families cover the full cost of child care, which can easily amount to $1,000 a month per child or more.

Ironically, many parents are being forced to choose between a pay raise and quality child care. 

The bill also guaranteed twelve months of child care to eligible parents. This would have ensured that parents could keep their jobs, and helped child care programs meet the challenge of budgeting for the new minimum wage.

AB 2150 passed the Assembly and the Senate Education Committee with bipartisan unanimous support. The bill failed because Senate Appropriations members were concerned about a high cost estimate from the Department of Finance. That estimate, which came close to $30 million dollars per year, was a ceiling of possible costs and did not take into account any natural attrition from the program. An estimate based on data from the program’s administrator, the California Department of Education, was $1 to $5 million annually.

Governor Brown has supported California’s working families by raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for women, and increasing the reimbursement rates for child care providers. Bravo to all of that!

Now it’s his job to make sure that every single subsidized child care slot from Del Norte to San Diego county is filled for at least twelve months, and that children remain enrolled without undue barriers until a family’s income can truly cover the full cost of child care, housing, food, transportation, medical insurance, and other necessities.

Many of you joined the extensive group of child advocates, social justice organizations, education agencies, local, county and state governments, parent and labor organizations that enthusiastically supported the bill. Thank you! With your continued support, Parent Voices and the Child Care Law Center will continue to champion the tenets of AB 2150 through the budget process and with new proposed legislation.