SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, two Minnesota House committees, Early Childhood Finance and Policy and Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy, finalized budget bills to increase investments in the youngest Minnesotans and their caregivers by nearly $600 million in state and federal funds.
"The early care and learning sector was in crisis even before the pandemic," said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL - St. Paul), chair of the Early Childhood committee and author of that committee's budget bill. "The opportunity gaps in our state start in the earliest months and years. But the economics of this sector are broken, unaffordable or inaccessible for families, with poverty wages for providers - our most important teachers. The ambitious agenda we've passed today will take great strides toward addressing these needs."
"Increasing access to child care is crucial to sustaining and strengthening our state’s economic stabilization, economic security, and economic recovery," said Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the Workforce and Business Development committee and author of that committee’s budget bill. "Our Workforce and Business Development budget increases investment in child care business development in underserved areas, complementing the Early Childhood budget, which invests in early childhood initiatives that will help improve our current and future workforce development in Minnesota.”
“House DFLers believe that all of our children deserve a great start in life,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Our budget will make significant investments in early care and learning to expand availability, address our inexcusable opportunity gaps and ensure our children have the opportunity to succeed.”
In earlier hearings, the Early Childhood committee found that providing high-quality early care and learning to the low-income young children who need it most would cost approximately an additional $1 billion. The committee's budget closes that gap significantly by investing:
more than $200 million to raise reimbursement rates for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), finally getting Minnesota closer to the federal standard,
nearly $40 million in early learning scholarships directed to the very youngest and most vulnerable Minnesotans, and
more than $300 million in monthly payments to providers and frontline workers, in recognition of the fundamental need for ongoing public support.
The two committees' budgets also expand the supply of child care, including grants for:
$10 million through the Department of Employment and Economic Development
$10 million through the Department of Human Services
$2 million through the Minnesota Initiative Foundations
Additional funds are used for a wide variety of evaluation and reform efforts in this critical sector.
More information about the hearings at which the budget was approved, including supporting documents, can be found on the Early Childhood committee webpage. and Workforce & Business Development committee webpage. Videos of the hearings are available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.