Parents worried childcare subsidies on Olympia chopping block

Author: Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Mar 07 2012 11:51:18 PM PST   Updated On: Mar 08 2012 10:18:57 AM PST
Parents worry over childcare subsidies on Olympia chopping block
SPOKANE, Wash. -

With state childcare subsidies on the chopping block in Olympia, thousands of parents across Washington are taking a closer look at their household budgets trying to figure out how they'll pay for daycare with out the extra help.

Last week, with the help of three democrats, senate republicans passed and moved a budget off the floor that calls for $202 million dollars in cuts from Working Connections Child Care, a program that helps low income working families with daycare expenses.

The proposed cuts would affect approximately four thousand families, and that's why on Wednesday, hundreds of parents, teachers and children advocates protested the proposed cuts on the steps of the capitol.

Tischa Simpson is a single mom and relied on the state help up until November, when she said she made $23 too much to qualify and lost the aid.

Simpson wrote a letter to lawmakers encouraging them to keep the program fully funded.

"The cutbacks by the state to this program have far reaching impact," Simpson wrote.

"Further cuts will mean more kids are home alone when they should be in day cares.  It will also mean that parents cut back their hours, which means less income for families.  Who does this hurt?  Our children.  Please, before making more cuts to a program that helps so many, look at what will be lost for the little bit that might be gained," she added.

Simpson said she suffered panic attacks, anxiety and sleepless nights as she tried to find affordable care for her three boys.

With the legislative session ending tomorrow, it's clear a special session will most likely be needed to reach a budget all parties can agree on.

Wednesday night, Governor Christine Gregoire urged lawmakers to work together and quickly to reach a resolution.

Gov. Gregoire said she doesn't want a long, drawn-out extended session and wants a plan in place before she officially calls for a special session.