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State Capitol News

Child care providers push for stimulus money

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Child care providers and their allies want Governor Jan Brewer to
use federal stimulus dollars to fund inspection and licensing
programs instead of hiking their fees.

State health officials proposed sharp hikes after lawmakers
demanded the program become self-funded. All care centers now pay
$150 every three years. Under the plan, the smallest -- those
with 10 or fewer children, would be charged $351. The largest
would pay more than $13,000. Dana Naimark of the Children's
Action Alliance said Brewer has stimulus funds for priorities,
some of which she has already spent on roof repairs for the
Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds.

"There are a lot of serious issues. And this is one of them. And,
Howie, if we can use stimulus funds to fix the roof on the
Coliseum, we can use them to keep the roof from falling in on
child care."

Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said while the governor is
open to the idea, she also needs to consider other demands for
the cash, like making up for the cuts lawmakers made in subsidies
for child care for the needy.

"Obviously, the downside to utilization of stimulus funds for
that, it could be taking dollars away from parents and giving it
to operators. That does challenges and questions and see what the
actual impact would be if those are dollars that could be spent
directly on parents and their children."

And Senseman defended the spending on the Coliseum, saying it is
integral to the annual fair which generates millions of dollars a
year for the state.