Governor Whitmer’s proposed budget to help childcare rebound after COVID

Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 18:21:25-05

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s new proposed state budget of $67.1 billion includes specific plans to recover from COVID-19.

So many people have lost their jobs temporarily, permanently, or are working from home, leaving daycare centers struggling to survive.

The governor’s budget includes $370 for families with children and childcare providers. That money would go to an expanded number of low-income families to qualify for childcare assistance and grants for those small businesses.

Sharlene Butler is co-owner of Lil’ Peoples Place childcare in Clarkston. She tells 7 Action news before COVID their occupancy rate was 95 to 98%. They had to close for 60 days last March and have only rebounded to 65% occupancy since. They have been in business since 1998.

Butler tells 7 Action News, “we have quite a reputation here in Clarkston. We’ve raised a lot of children. COVID had quite an impact on us.”

Butler says they are following strict COVID safety protocols. She’s having trouble hiring staff.

Many of her clients are healthcare workers who don’t have the option of working from home.

“We received a PPP loan. Without that we would have closed,” Butler says.

The governor’s budget has been stalled by Republicans who control the Legislature and have wanted a voice in her decisions to close businesses and schools because of COVID.

The governor tells 7 Action News, “I’m not going to focus on that. I got too much work to do and the people of Michigan want us to get this done.”