CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office won't cut child-care assistance after all, the governor said Wednesday in his State of the State address.
Tomblin said he is proposing $17 million for the to preserve the state's child- care subsidies program.
"Access to childcare not only assures young children receive quality early childhood development, but it helps parents keep their jobs," the governor said in Wednesday's speech.
Last summer, Tomblin had proposed cutting child-care subsidies to an estimated 800 families with 1,400 children. Those cuts would have affected those with an income between 150 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Families of four who made more than $35,325 a year would have lost funding.
Tomblin also raised co-payments for eligible families last August.
The governor blamed declining federal funding for the shortfall in the child-care subsidies program.
Margie Hale, executive director of West Virginia Kids Count, praised Tomblin's decision to fund the child-care subsidies program.
"The fact that the governor is going to do that is really terrific," Hale said.
She said research shows for every dollar the state spends on children up to 3 years old, it gets back $5 to $7 in taxes the child eventually pays and in money it would have spent had the child ended up in prison.
"I'm glad the governor sees how important that is and we need to invest more in that age group," Hale said.
Tomblin's proposed budget will not cut Medicaid funding, he said.
Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said Tomblin is to be commended for his commitment to children.
"There is no doubt that shoring up the shortfall in child care assistance and Medicaid will help thousands of low-income families and that moving toward universal Pre-K and advancing early childhood care and education is the best investment we can make as a state," Boettner said.