Budget issues could force day care cuts

June 17, 2009 3:36:06 PM PDT
Some day care programs may be in jeopardy unless the state's budget problems are solved. That means parents will be scrambling to find babysitters if funding is lost. Protesters were back out in full force Wednesday, taking aim at state lawmakers who voted against an increase in the state income tax. But turn down the volume, and somewhere in this crowd, you'll find people like Tina Carroll.

"I could lose my home, I could lose my job. I could be one of those people that's in the shelter, simple as that," said Carroll.

Carroll runs a day care center out of her home in an Albany Park three-flat. She takes care of nine children daily, all of them subsidized by the state's child care assistance program. Governor Pat Quinn is warning that on July 1, under the so-called doomsday budget, programs like this would be cut by 50 percent or more.

Carroll says that would put her out of business and have a ripple effect on parents who depend on her, like Carolyn Woodley, who is actually a grandmother raising three of her grandchildren and working full-time for the Salvation Army. But Woodley says she couldn't keep it going without this kind of relatively inexpensive day care.

"How can I keep my job if I don't have anyone to keep the kids? And then if I had someone to keep the three kids, I would have to pay them. I couldn't pay rent or my bills because I don't make that much," said Woodley.

The union representing home-based day care providers, SEIU, estimates if the cuts go through, it would seriously impact 80,000 working parents and 150,000 children in Illinois.

"I'm basically the breadwinner of my family. Most of my parents are the breadwinners of their families, so to say that this is a joke, this is not-- this is about as serious as it can get," said Carroll.

Which brings us back to Tina Carroll, at the protest Wednesday, one of hundreds putting the heat on State Representative John Fritchey.

"I will vote yes on a permanent income tax hike," said Fritchey.

Fritchey told the protesters he is on their side. They are counting on it over the next two weeks.


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