I know, I know, there’s quite a bit of competition for this prize. But hands down, the single worst thing we did had to be the decision not to provide funding for Child Care and Development Funding.
Late this year, the state learned that federal funds for this program were being reduced. In Fairfax County, the funding allows for subsidized child care for more than 6500 kids each month. Most of them are in working families, many in families headed by single parents.
The County sent an urgent request to the Governor asking for help in matching the county funds that support the program. I received a copy of the letter, which was sent to every single one of us who represents Fairfax County.
But when voting on the budget amendments, four Fairfax County Republican delegates voted to cut the funding. Why? Ostensibly “for transportation.” Problem is, the funds will provide only a quarter of a cloverleaf intersection.
Meanwhile, 1,900 Fairfax County children of the working poor will not have access to subsidized child care.
Why would delegates vote against their own constituents? Although they didn’t say so on the floor, the majority caucus had taken a binding vote. That means that just 35 members made the policy decision for the House. And under the new rules of the House, there are now real consequences for breaking with the Caucus after a vote to bind.
Still, it was both bad policy and bad politics.