Working mom Erin Star Hughes pays roughly 40 percent of her income to child care costs. "I believe that I spend 9 to 10 thousand dollars a year on childcare, if not more," Hughes said,
Rebecca Rectenwald is forking over roughly $100 a week to get her little girl cared for while she's at work. "We don't have a car, we ride the bus, we have Dr. Dinosaur, we have WIC," she said.
Governor Shumlin is pushing a plan he says will help bring those costs down. He wants to use $17 million from the state's Earned Income Tax Credit to do it.
Under the proposal a single mom with two kids, in child care, making around $40,000 a year would go from paying roughly $850 a month for child care, to $300 with the new subsidies.
"You often hear people say, well you know you are taking from one group and giving to another. I argue no, you are making a choice about Vermont's future," Shumlin said.
Chris Curtis with Vermont Legal Aid said tapping into the EITC is the wrong answer. "This is a cornerstone for low-income, working Vermonters and we want to see it preserved and protected," he said.
Curtis said thousands of Vermonters depend on the tax credit to pay for things like rent, food and fuel. He argues that Shumlin should look elsewhere to cover the expanded benefits, but offered no suggestions. "That's a question for the Legislature and a question for the administration and they should be looking at all the possible options, not just honing in on one benefit program that we know already works for working Vermonters," he said.
Shumlin took on critics challenging him to dip into another pot, saying the options are limited. "Talking about alternatives sound great until you try and go find them," he said.
Shumlin's child care plan is part of a larger effort to transform Reach Up, the state's welfare program. He said it's a much-needed move to fix a broken system. "Our current system freezes our kids in poverty, it freezes our parents in poverty and we can do much better," he said.
A big question now is whether the governor will be able to get the Legislature on board.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:38 AM EST2013-12-10 14:38:12 GMT
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store. Police say at about 9:45 p.m. Monday, a man entered the South Main Grocery and displayed a weapon. He left the storeMore >>
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:40 AM EST2013-12-10 14:40:06 GMT
A former New Hampshire police chief will not face criminal charges. David Seastrand resigned in April after four women came forward and accused him of inappropriate actions ranging from sexual contactMore >>
A former New Hampshire police chief will not face criminal charges.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:42 AM EST2013-12-10 14:42:57 GMT
A non-profit group has donated close to $23,000 worth of protective vests to police dogs in Vermont and New Hampshire. The special vests provide two dozen police dogs protection from both bullet and stabMore >>
A nonprofit group has donated close to $23,000 worth of protective vests to police dogs in Vermont and New Hampshire.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 8:10 AM EST2013-12-10 13:10:07 GMT
A new twist in a lawsuit against a Vermont ski resort. A Massachusetts family say their 5-year-old was taking skiing lessons when a snowboard instructor, William Vincent of Montgomery, slammed into herMore >>
A new twist in a lawsuit against a Vermont ski resort.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:26 AM EST2013-12-10 14:26:17 GMT
A busy night Monday at the Burlington city council meeting where redistricting the city was a major discussion. Population shifts have forced the city to remap Burlington's districts to create more equalMore >>
A busy night Monday at the Burlington City Council meeting where redistricting the city was a major discussion.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:28 AM EST2013-12-10 14:28:42 GMT
Burlington considers plans for the run-down Moran Plant. For 25 years, the coal-fired power plant has stood empty on the Burlington waterfront. A proposed project -- called the "New Moran" -- would beMore >>
Burlington is again considering plans for the rundown Moran Plant on the city's waterfront. More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:30 AM EST2013-12-10 14:30:08 GMT
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at this apartment complex at 25 SpruceMore >>
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, N.Y., apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-10 14:31:04 GMT
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. About 30 firefighters responded to a blaze at the Champlain Valley Equipment facility on Exchange Street. The Middlebury fire chief says there'sMore >>
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday.More >>