November 2023 Newsletter
Kansas Action for Children
November 30, 2023
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Prepping for the 2024 Session
The KAC team has been hard at work this interim prepping for the upcoming legislative session. In the last month, we’ve had a few new faces join the team.
|Alice Fitzgerald, our Fiscal Policy Analyst, will be our eyes and ears for anything budget-related throughout the session and develop meaningful recommendations to improve the lives of Kansas children and their families.
|Emily Barnes, our Education Policy Advisor, will advocate for policies that ensure every Kansas kid has the opportunity to access a robust education – child care, pre-K, and K-12 throughout their development.
You can review their backgrounds and refamiliarize yourself with the rest of the KAC team here.
Hiring — Tax Policy Advisor
Do you know someone who is passionate about equitable tax policy? Encourage them to apply for our Tax Policy Advisor position!
We know that sustained support for equitable tax policy paired with targeted investments can help strengthen families in the short run and build a stronger state economy down the road. This position focuses on understanding and promoting policy solutions that help families gain financial security. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Child Care Interim Committee Makes Recommendations
On November 1, the Special Committee on Child Care Centers and Child Care Homes met for the second — and final — time. The Committee ended the meeting by voting and approving nearly two dozen recommendations, several of which KAC and other early learning advocates had given the Committee before the meeting. Some of these include:
- Consider a state level child tax credit that mirrors the federal tax credit and explore the Kentucky plan in which child care workers get free child care for their own children
- Explore increasing income eligibility for child care assistance beyond 250% of FPL
- Explore allocating child care assistance payments directly to providers
- Consider reimbursement at the Tier 1 rate for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Consider financial incentives for specialty care options, like infant care or extended hours
- Consider reducing child care assistance co-pays (long-term idea)
- Consider health care and retirement benefits for child care workers (long-term idea)
The Committee didn’t make firm commitments to an idea or solution. Instead, they voted to “consider” or “explore” proposals, which means advocates have opportunities to clarify and promote these ideas in the coming 2024 session.
Kansas Revenues Down – Again
FY 2024 revenues have been on a bumpy journey. October 2023 revenues were about 4.1% (or $29 million) below what the state expected to bring in. The holiday months could bring a boost in tax revenue to the state budget, so we’ll be watching November and December totals closely to give us insight into what the state coffers will look like going into the 2024 session. See the exact October numbers here…
Revenues are vital to ensuring our state budget works for every Kansan. Each fiscal year’s budget is a long process that ends with the Legislature sending the Governor its spending plan.
A budget that supports a prosperous future for all Kansans targets investments strategically for long-term impact. By understanding the state’s fiscal picture and the budget process, lawmakers can fully weigh different priorities against each other while keeping the budget balanced and serving the best interests of all Kansas residents. Learn more about how the state budget process here...
Budget Summary: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
TANF, the country’s cash assistance program, helps low-income families break the cycle of poverty. The funding for the program primarily comes from the federal government, with some state matching required.
Unfortunately, after years of lawmakers adding numerous restrictions to the program, TANF is not as effective as it could be. In just one decade, Kansas participation went from around 15,000 families (2011) to around 3,000 families (2022) when there wasn’t a similar decline in families living in poverty. Read more about how the program works and who it can help...