Scott, Hallquist debate early child care issues

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Gov. Phil Scott and democratic challenger, Christine Hallquist, answered questions Thursday night in Burlington on early child care.

Scott is considering a new plan to support his cradle-to-career effort and provide more funding for early and higher education. The plan would use new online sales tax revenue heading to Vermont stemming from a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Upwards of $4.6 million in 2019 and more than $7 million in 2020 would be earmarked early care and education.

"So there are many ways we can invest this money. One idea that I'm proposing is to use this revenue stream to invest more in early care and learning by increasing the appropriation to the child care financial assistance program -- which we know is very successful," Scott said.

Hallquist says the governor's idea won't raise the amount of money needed. She says she's focused on raising the pay of early care and learning workers. Hallquist says raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will help make those jobs more attractive and help ease the shortage. She also says the state should be considering loan forgiveness programs.

"I would look at a loan forgiveness program so that students coming out of college could start out their careers here. And that's been very effective in the medical profession," Hallquist said.

Channel 3 will also host Scott and Hallquist live in studio for a debate next Wednesday night at 7 p.m.