Kansas lawmakers spared early childhood programs from the budget axe this year, but advocates for those programs say children didn't fare well overall in the 2013 legislative session.
The top concern, according to April Holman of the non-profit Kansas Action for Children, is that lawmakers balanced the budget using more than $9 million dollars that should have gone into an endowment for early childhood funding.
Holman is also concerned about something lawmakers didn’t do. They didn’t restore the state income tax credit for child care. Holman says that credit was eliminated last year to help offset the loss of revenue from Gov. Brownback’s income tax cuts.
“Most people don’t realize that they’re not going to have that credit," she says. "It won’t fall into place. People won’t see it until they prepare their taxes next spring, in the spring of 2014, and I think it’s go be a really unpleasant surprise for families all across the state.”
Holman says most working families who pay for child care have claimed the tax credit in the past. Losing it will cost those 67,000 families an average of $350 when they pay their income taxes next year. Holman says it’s hard to see that as anything other than a tax increase on those families.