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GR Chamber asks governor to consider child care investments

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Michigan’s state budget deadline is July 1st. Recently, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, along with a number of business organizations, wrote a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer encouraging child care investments.

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce has long supported affordable childcare as an education and workforce development issue. As Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislators work to allocate $1.4 billion dollars in child care federal aid, the GR Chamber and business leaders sent a letter to the governor signaling five areas of recommended investment.

“Increasing income eligibility threshold, waving family copays, increasing reimbursement rates, paying providers on enrollment rather than attendance and then, business support grants.”

Alexa Kramer is Director of Government Affairs with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. She says the business support grants are no strings attached funding helping child providers get back on their feet post-pandemic get back on their feet, or for new providers entering the industry. Even before the pandemic, Kramer explains providers are small businesses in need of stability.

“So, any way that we can help support them is going to be really important and beneficial to our overall economy.”

The GR Chamber has initiated a pilot program called TRI-SHARE splitting childcare costs three ways between state, families and businesses. The pilot currently focuses on one rural, suburban and urban area.