METAIRIE, LA – The future of Louisiana depends on how willing we are to care for and prepare our youngest citizens. High quality early care and education will prepare our students for a smart start in life, enable families to be productive in the workforce, and serve as an economic engine for local communities.The Jefferson Chamber, in conjunction with more than 40 organizations statewide through the Ready Louisiana Coalition, is taking steps to increase investment in quality early care and education to close this gap and develop cognitive and character skills when it matters most.
The Chamber supports expanding access to high quality early learning by restoring funding for early care and education, especially for children birth through age three, across the state of Louisiana. We have committed to work together to advocate for additional funding for early care and education programs from all possible funding sources – to ensure that every child has access to a high quality program that meets their needs, prepares our students for success in school, and supports their parents’ workforce participation and productivity, and our state’s economy. We understand that given the large numbers of unserved young children in the state, the price tag to serve them all will be very large. However, we are committed to ensuring incremental increases in the state’s investment each year in this critical time of life. To start, we have further committed to work together to advocate in 2019 for additional state funds to be appropriated to early care and education in general, and for early care and education to be a top priority for all funding from any new revenues, including fantasy sports betting, which has already been legalized in the state, and regular sports betting, should the latter be legalized in Louisiana.
Young children should have access to high quality early care and education that ensures they are off to a smart start in life. However, in Louisiana there is currently no consistent, stable state funding stream for early care and education, and that we are currently spending less than ½ of 1% of our state general funds on this. By contrast, other states have used “sin taxes” such as lottery funds, tobacco settlement funds and tobacco taxes to specifically fund early care and education.
An investment in early care and education is a long-term investment in Louisiana’s economy. Child care instability has a significant effect on Louisiana’s workforce participation and productivity. According to a report by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, care breakdowns in our state caused 16% of parents of young children to quit their job and 8% to be fired. Absences and employee turnover due to child care issues cost Louisiana employers $816 million a year, and resulted in a $1.1 billion loss annually for Louisiana’s economy.
The Chamber supports investment in child care centers, which are small businesses that serve local communities. For every dollar invested in a center, $1.78 is generated in the local economy in terms of purchased services and goods. In addition, high quality early care and education has been shown to result in up to a 13% return on investment, based on increased school and career achievement, as well as reduced costs in remedial education and health and criminal justice system expenditures.
For the past three years the Jefferson Chamber has advocated strongly for additional funding for early care and education programs to improve child outcomes, strengthen families and the workforce and build our economy.
Baton Rouge Area Chamber
Central Louisiana Regional Chamber
Committee of 100
Committee of 100 of Northwest LA
Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Hispanic Chamber of LA
Jefferson Business Council
Kenner Business Association
LA Early Childhood Business Roundtable
New Orleans Chamber
Northshore Business Council
River Region Chamber
Ruston Lincoln Chamber
St. Tammany West Chamber
Southwest LA Economic Development Alliance
Capital Area United Way
St. Landry Evangeline United Way
United Way of Acadiana
United Way of Central LA
United Way of Iberia
United Way of Northeast LA
United Way of Southeast LA
United Way of Southwest LA
Women United – UWSWLA
Women United – United Way of Acadiana
National Council of Jewish Women, GNO Section
Advocacy Groups and Community Organizations:
Agenda for Children
Beary Cherry Tree
Childcare Association of LA
Health and Education Alliance of LA
Independent Women’s Organization
Institute of Mental Hygiene
Link Restaurant Group
LA Budget Project
LA Children’s Museum
LA Public Health Institute
LA Partnership for Children and Families
LA Policy Institute for Children
New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Orleans Public Education Network
For more information on the Ready Louisiana Coalition, click here.
About the Jefferson Chamber:
The Jefferson Chamber is a leading voice for Jefferson Parish’s business community. As a non-profit, membership-driven organization, the Chamber is an effective advocate for small and large businesses at the local, state and federal levels. The Chamber’s mission is to work for the advancement of the business community; to enhance the economic, civic and cultural environment; and to improve the quality of life in Jefferson Parish. The Jefferson Chamber is Five-Star Accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the 2013 and 2015 Chamber of the Year Award by the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in the Large Chamber Category.