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Groundwork Ohio Provides Testimony Requesting Amendments to Budget Proposal

By: Lynanne Gutierrez, Chief Operating & Policy Officer at Groundwork Ohio

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This week, on behalf of Groundwork Ohio, I provided testimony on House Bill 33 in front of the Ohio House Finance Committee. I focused on the supplemental information on three amendments Groundwork Ohio is asking for to the Governor's proposals:

My full testimony as presented to the committee is as follows.

Ohio House of Representatives

Finance Committee

House Bill 33

Lynanne Gutierrez, Chief Operating & Policy Officer

Groundwork Ohio

March 28, 2023 Chair Edwards, Vice Chair LaRe, Ranking Member Sweeney, and members of the Finance Committee, my name is Lynanne Gutierrez, and I am the Chief Operating and Policy Officer at Groundwork Ohio.

Today, I join with fellow advocates, professionals, community leaders and families from across Ohio in thanking you for the opportunity to provide interested party testimony on House Bill 33, Ohio’s FY 2024-2025 budget bill, regarding the state publicly funded child care program and preschool program.

Groundwork Ohio is a statewide, nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families, and communities. Our vision is to make Ohio the best place to be a young child so that every child can reach their full potential.

Investing in Young Children Today and Tomorrow Strengthens Ohio

It is widely acknowledged that Ohio is facing a workforce crisis. Our states and industries are creating new jobs as they struggle to even maintain current capacity. The challenge to find accessible and affordable child care, which was made worse by the pandemic, is a serious problem, particularly in rural areas of Ohio that is greatly impacting our workforce crisis. It is costing families and the state economy billions of dollars and is worsening the labor shortage challenges for Ohio businesses and causing children to fall further behind.

The lack of investment in Ohio’s young children and child care directly impacts a working parents’ ability to provide for her family. This plays a foundational role in stabilizing business, rebuilding our economy and helping families thrive. According to a recent poll of Ohio voters and parents by Public Opinion Strategies, we have found the following: (See Appendix A, Public Opinion Strategies, Ohio Statewide Poll Key Findings)[i]

Parents Need Child Care to Work

Child Care is Difficult to Access & Afford

Lack of Child Care Negatively Impacts the Economy

How to Invest in Young Children in the FY24-25 State Budget

  1. We recommend a new investment in infant & toddler child care (See attached HC0636X1). Infant & Toddler Child Care Infrastructure Grant—Allocate $30 million of General Revenue Funds over the biennium to increase capacity of local communities, specifically Appalachian and communities with high infant mortality rates, to provide safe and developmentally appropriate child care for infants and toddlers.

  2. We recommend increasing proposed funding for preschool (See attached HC0634). Early Childhood Education Grant—Increase the proposed additional funding for the Early Childhood Education grants by an additional $46 million over the biennium. These additional funds can support providing additional half-day preschool slots or for the piloting of full day preschool slots. For every $1 million added to this program, 250 more low-income 3- and 4-year-olds gain access to preschool.

  3. We recommend supporting the increase in publicly funded child care eligibility to 160% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and providing scholarships to critical care occupations making between 161% and 200% FPL. Increasing child care eligibility for publicly funded child care from 142% of the FPL to 160% expands access to child care for more Ohio families including a family of three that makes at or below $17.72 per hour. A critical workforce support and opportunity for early learning, this will result in more than 15,000 children and families gaining access to care. Additionally, providing scholarships to critical care occupations will assist in stabilizing workforces that are in crisis including child care professionals, for whom child care is a barrier, and serving additional low-income children.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Please use as a resource during the budget process. I can be reached directly via email at or by phone at 614-204-6106.

[1]NOTE: All data referenced in this testimony is from the Public Opinion Strategies Public Opinion Strategies, Ohio Statewide Poll Key Findings attached hereto as Appendix A unless otherwise cited within the document.


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