April showers bring May flowers, and this year, they also herald the much-anticipated release of President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal. With the date set for Wednesday, April 10, reports about what we can expect to see for early learning are beginning to trickle out of Washington like so many drops of spring rain.
The field’s excitement about a potentially large-scale investment has been paired with a litany of questions about funding levels, program design, and, especially given the fiscal climate, whether the administration would propose a source of revenue to support the plan. Sources indicate that President Obama will announce his plans to fund the early childhood education proposal by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Given all we know about how early learning opportunities can play a role in driving better health outcomes and equipping participants to make healthier choices throughout their lives, this seems like a smart choice to us.
After Wednesday’s release, we will send communications tools and our analysis as soon as we can. As the news trickle turns to a deluge, we look forward to keeping you in the loop.
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Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, released the following statement on the president’s plan to use a tobacco tax to fund his early childhood education proposal. As always, Kris is available for comment if you have questions.
The New York Times reported this morning that President Obama’s early childhood education proposal will be funded by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. This is a smart, no nonsense revenue source that will help grow our economy in the short and long-term, while also highlighting an important public health issue. This kind of plan can save taxpayers money by reducing the costs of programs like Medicaid and Medicare while investing in programs like high-quality early childhood education, which pays dividends to children, families and taxpayers for the life of the child.
The First Five Years Fund applauds President Obama’s bold move to put our nation’s youngest children first by making significant investments in early development through the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and the expansion of evidence-based, voluntary home visiting.
These investments are an economic no-brainer. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman’s research that shows the greatest return on investment comes from investing in high quality early childhood programs for disadvantage children from birth to five. The president and political leaders from both parties recognize these benefits.
For too long, our nation’s youngest learners have been subjected to its worst education opportunities. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to working with the president and members of both parties of Congress to see this plan through to fruition.
Thank you all for your swift and vocal outreach in support of Senator Harkin’s amendment to the Continuing Resolution that would have increased funding for Head Start and child care.
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: Child Care
With the Senate set to take up their version of the FY2013 spending bill this week, there is a small window of opportunity to encourage them to increase funding for early learning programs.