A number of governors called for significant new investments in early care and education to expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said he wanted to "ensure that every child in Massachusetts has access to high-quality early education." Read more »
Hats off to Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who announced an impressive plan to invest in strengthening the state’s education system, including not only the K-12 and higher education systems, but early education as well. The Governor recommends that $350 million be targeted over four years to expand and improve the state’s early education and care system. This investment would eliminate the state’s waiting list of nearly 30,000 children who need but cannot currently access child care assistance, expand the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to help early educators and providers offer higher-quality experiences to children and families, increase educational programs and supports for parents and family members, and strengthen efforts to provide comprehensive support to children and families. In addition, new school finance funding would be used to incentivize school districts to offer prekindergarten for four-year-olds.
In order to raise the revenue necessary to support these fundamental education initiatives, Governor Patrick, in his state of the state address, proposed to increase the state income tax by one percent, to 6.25 percent. He also proposed to double personal exemptions and eliminate certain itemized deductions in an attempt to distribute the burden of the tax increase based on ability to pay. Read more »
And in a very exciting development at the federal level today, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) just introduced the Rebuild America Act in the House. Like its companion bill introduced by Senator Harkin, the bill would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour over three years and then index it for inflation, and would also gradually raise the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage. Read more »
I hope you saw the new infographic we posted this morning. I think it makes a pretty clear case for raising the minimum wage! Fortunately, in recent months, quite a few states have been getting the message: legislatures in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York are all considering bills to increase the state minimum wage, including the minimum wage for tipped workers. And in Missouri, state advocates just delivered 175,000 signatures in support of a voter initiative that would get a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November.
As of today, the bill in Connecticut (H.B. 5291) – which passed the state House of Representatives last month – is closest to being law. At $8.25 per hour, Connecticut’s minimum wage is higher than the federal level ($7.25 per hour), but still leaves a mother with two kids more than $1,000 below the poverty line if she works full time. H.B. 5291 would raise the state minimum wage to $8.75 per hour over two years and raise the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $5.69 to $6.04 per hour by 2015. Read more »
Last week the winners of the first round of the Early Learning Challenge grant competition were announced.
The 9 states selected to receive the grant awards (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington) have laid out comprehensive, collaborative strategies to achieve stronger early learning systems that increase low-income children’s access to high-quality early care and education.
Do you live in Arizona, Massachusetts, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Washington? If so, call 1-866-251-4044 today to tell your senator on the super-committee to oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the super-committee.
If you’re a resident of one of the states above, we need your help. Senators Kyl, Kerry, Baucus, Portman, Toomey, and Murray are all members of the very powerful congressional super-committee charged with deciding how to cut the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over ten years. Time is short — the committee faces a deadline of November 23 — and the stakes are high.
Various proposals before the super-committee would reduce Social Security benefits and cut Medicare and Medicaid by as much as $685 billion. Each of these vital programs provides income security and health care to millions of Americans — mostly women.
Your senator needs to hear from you now! Over the next couple of weeks, the handful of members on the super-committee will decide the fate of these and other vital programs. Read more »
Happy Friday! I’ve got a whole new batch of stories for you this week, including some on NOW’s campaign to love your body, more on Anita Hill, some new abortion-related shenanigans, women and girls who are drawn to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and more — all after the jump. Read more »