In his first budget address, Governor Murphy demonstrated his commitment to making right on promises made to children and families throughout the state. For 3- and 4-year olds, that promise is expanding preschool!
Murphy’s budget calls for an additional $83 million, including nearly $53 million in new dollars, to expand state-funded preschool to thousands of additional 3-and 4-year olds from low-income families. He further demonstrated his commitment to supporting the needs of those same families by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), increasing minimum wage, making community colleges more accessible--all issues critical for families to thrive. He also included funding for a child and dependent care tax credit.
One major area was left off of his priorities—helping low-income families have better access to quality child care, especially for babies. If we want to close New Jersey’s public school achievement gap and improve the odds for children in our most disadvantaged communities, Trenton needs to invest more in child care. Access to quality child care is not only essential for low-income families so they can work, but the biggest education returns will come when those investments are made in our youngest children.