Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 1, 2020
Last week, the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated that early education and family day care homes will need $690 million over the next five months to successfully reopen, cautioning that child care is a key foundation for virtually all other economic sectors because it enables parents to work.
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In its new report, the nonprofit MassBudget estimated early education providers lost up to $250 million in private tuition each month of the shutdown. Now, providers may also face a 20% increase in the cost of operations due to new safety protocols and disruptions of enrollment.
“Families with options, such as keeping kids home with family or private caregivers, may choose to move away from group child care entirely, further financially destabilizing the system,” the report said.
The report noted low-income families and families of color are “more likely” to be hurt by child care center closures during the pandemic. “Accessible early education and care for young kids and their families is vital to the recovery of our economy from the Covid-19 crisis,” the report said.
This year was supposed to be the first year of funding under the new formula. In his January budget proposal, Baker proposed adding $303.8 million in new state aid to school districts, compared to the amount distributed in fiscal 2020. Because of the way Baker wanted to phase in changes related to low-income students, that represented slightly less than one-seventh of the total implementation cost, which the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center pegged at $375 million a year. But with the coronavirus pandemic tanking state revenues, Baker’s budget proposal is essentially meaningless. In the absence of an annual budget, the state plans to base its aid distributions to districts for July and August on the amounts they received this year.
“Not having this additional funding is a recipe for disaster at this point,” Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, told WGBH News.
“It’s essentially $300 million that districts across the commonwealth” will lose, Rivera said, referring to the amount of money in the governor’s pre-COVID budget for the Student Opportunity Act in fiscal 2021. That will affect mainly gateway cities who serve the most kids of color and low income kids and English language learners, she added.
“Those districts were expecting this infusion of cash, which they’re not going to get,” said Rivera.
Almost half of the employed undocumented people in Massachusetts are at high risk of losing their jobs or income because of the coronavirus, according to a new report by MassBudget.
As a result of businesses having to shut down to slow the spread of Covid-19, 55,000 out of the 122,000 employed undocumented people could lose their jobs, the nonprofit MassBudget said in its report. The estimates are likely low, as finding accurate numbers of undocumented people is difficult, the report notes.
MassBudget is urging lawmakers to support these workers through financial relief for those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, a move that could benefit about 57,000 adults and children, some of whom are likely undocumented, according to MassBudget. Similar to the Federal CARES Act, this bill would provide stimulus checks to those who cannot get a social security number.
Nearly half of the undocumented immigrants employed in the state, an estimated 55,000 workers, were at risk of losing their job or losing pay because their workplace had to close during the COVID-19 shutdowns, according to a report issued Monday.
The analysis by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a liberal-leaning policy think tank, said workers without legal status in the country are disproportionately employed in sectors that have experienced widespread closures due to the pandemic. These include jobs that require close customer interactions, such as those at restaurants, hotels, and barbershops.
The Mass. Budget report highlighted state legislation that would offer financial relief to people who hold Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) â€” some of whom are undocumented. Workers can get an ITIN number with a foreign passport.
In a Wednesday analysis, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center warned that the state’s economic recovery could suffer if federal lawmakers do not extend the PUA program, which runs through the end of 2020, or if policy granting a bonus $600 per week to all benefit recipients is allowed to expire at the end of July.
“Bold federal policies to strengthen unemployment insurance have been a crucial source of funds for many workers whose income has been interrupted,” Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst at MassBudget who authored the report, said in a press release. “If these benefits are allowed to expire before the Massachusetts economy has recovered, a lot of people and prospects for growth will be harmed.”