The Push Is On for A Near $Billion Pre-K Program

by Rob Roper

EAI warned in the summer and fall (see here and here) that the big “sleeper” issue for 2017 with the major price tag was universal, taxpayer funded preschool. Well, here it is. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care is out with its final report and recommendations. Hold onto your seats… their dream plan will cost an estimated $849,254,369.

Yes, nearly a billion dollars. This would create a 100% subsidy for 100% of the population. Free daycare for all!screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-1-55-39-pm

Lesser options would cost $597,875,076, which would subsidize all households with two parents in the workforce, or $366,406,397 for to subsidize a smaller universe defined as “perceived demand of non-relative care.” If anyone knows what that means let me know, but there are apparently 15,000 of them out there.

Though these numbers represent total costs including the $130,000,000 we already spend on early childhood education in Vermont, the demand here for new revenue is massive. Total spending on K-12 education for 2016 was about $1.7 billion, so we’re talking about a 50% increase – a property tax tsunami. This is bigger than two other Democrat/Progressive priorities for 2017, a Carbon Tax, Dr. Dynasaur 2.0, which would place every young adult from 18-26 on Medicaid.

The thirty page report contains a number of red flags for the private childcare providers in the state. At one point it says, “Future conversations around this issue need to carefully consider the trade-off between parental choice and affordability.” Elsewhere it recommends, “Exploring the infrastructure and capacity of the K-12 system and other community facilities to increase the supply of high quality preschools.” The wink, wink, nudge, nudge throughout is that, despite lip service, the best course of action is for the public school system to take over birth to 5 childcare.

So, Vermonters, is this what you voted for in November?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Liebrecht December 14, 2016 at 12:43 am

Of course we know who is really behind this.. The VTNEA which is always looking for a way to add to its membership ranks. When the Democrats pick the head of the VTNEA to be one of their electors in the presidential race that’s all you need to know.


H. Brooke Paige December 14, 2016 at 6:07 am

It is inconceivable that adding “universal pre-K” to current education spending will increase total costs by nearly 30%. I fail to understand the endgame that bankrupts the state and sends the remaining wage earners and tax payers fleeing to more tax friendly environs ! Only the impoverished, the trust fund babies and Bernie’s 1%ers can endure this kind of financial punishment.

H. Brooke Paige
Washington, Vermont


Jim Bulmer December 17, 2016 at 1:36 am

Study after study shows that any benefits generated from pre-K lasts all of 2 years at best. This is nothing more than an a NEA scam. Tax payers be damned!!!


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