MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday he would seek to allow workers to qualify for family leave when their child care providers are closed.
The Democratic governor said he would include the provision in the state budget he will introduce next week.
That budget would also pour an additional $106 million into child care and early education programs over two years, according to the governor’s office. About $10 million of that could go toward making services available in what the governor called child care deserts.
After Evers delivers his budget address next week, Republicans who control the Legislature will spend months reshaping his spending plan. Evers can veto portions of the budget lawmakers give him before he signs off on it.
Evers wants to expand the family leave law to allow parents to claim leave when their child care provider is closed. In addition, he would allow leave to be used in more instances, such as when caring for grandparents, grandchildren or siblings with chronic conditions.
In addition, he would create a new tax credit of up to $500 for caregiving expenses. The credit would cost the state about $200 million over two years.
More funding for nursing homes
As part of his announcement, Evers said he would funnel more money to nursing homes by increasing their Medicaid payments by about 11.5% annually in each of the next two fiscal years. Medicaid is jointly run by the state and federal government to provide health care to people who are elderly, disabled or low income.
Evers also wants to develop a digital platform that could be used to connect people with those who provide long-term care.
Evers did not say how he would seek to fund the health-care portion of his budget, but he has long championed expanding the Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare.
Under that plan, the state would be able to provide health coverage to thousands of more Wisconsinites while seeing its costs go down because of an influx of federal cash.
Republicans oppose the idea because they believe it gives the government too much of a role in health care. They have blocked Evers’ past efforts and would likely do so again.
Aides to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu of Oostburg did not say Tuesday what they think of Evers’ proposals for child care and nursing homes.
Contact Patrick Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.