Human Services Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1044

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOUPMENT OF STATE COSTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO LOW WAGE EMPLOYERS.

Vote Date:

3/17/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/12/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Human Services Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill will require employers of over 500 employees whose wages require employees to rely on public assistance to contribute to state costs to provide revenue to programs that benefit low wage workers, childcare and healthcare.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Rep. Robert Sanchez spoke in support of the bill because it will help families in need by directing the fee revenue from large low wage employers to the services used by their low wage employees.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Carol Sargent, Childcare Learning Centers, Inc., Stamford, CT, spoke in support of the bill because it will raise additional state revenue to be allocated to the Office of Early Childhood and used largely to increase early childhood teacher wages.

Dorinda Thames, Hartford, Connecticut, spoke in support of the bill because an increase in the minimum wage would provide her with additional resources.

Merrill Gay, Executive Director, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, spoke in support of the bill because it also directs the state to spend the new revenue to bolster the services that low wage workers rely upon.

Carol Joyner, Director, Labor Project for Working Families, supports the bill because it strengthens family life and strengthens the economy.

Elizabeth Fraser, Policy Analyst, Connecticut Association for Human Services, spoke in support of the bill. In order to support a well qualified workforce for the early care system the state needs to increase funding to a level that can allow providers to attract well qualified workers. With current wages certified teachers and recent graduates are more likely to pursue careers in public school systems rather than with subsidized private early care providers.

Paul Filson, Director, Service Employees International Union, spoke in support of the bill. He stated it is time for hugely profitable large corporations to pay their employees a decent wage. These corporations have developed a model for making money that relies on public subsidies.

Amber Creighton Pandey, Phelps Ingersoll Center for Children, spoke in support of the bill. She noted the necessity for compensating early childhood teachers fairly in order to encourage others to pursue studies in this field.

Jessica Stewart, Middletown School Readiness/Discovery Council, spoke of the need for an increase in wages for early care teachers. As of July 1, 2015, legislation will mandate that 50% of teaching staff hold a bachelors degree and the other 50% an associates degree at State funded centers. However, those who have met these educational requirements will not be compensated with a living wage.

Izzi Greenberg, Executive Director, Middlesex Coalition for Children, spoke in support of the bill. She stated it would be the first best step toward bringing people to a fair wage.

Sarah Leberstein, Senior Staff Attorney, National Employment Law Project, spoke in support of the bill because it would ensure the state's role as a leader in providing quality care for children, seniors and people with disabilities while easing the enormous burden borne by middle class families who have been forced to subsidize big corporations through tax expenditures for public services.

Julienne Davis, Associate Director, Mount Olive, spoke in support of the bill because it will create available funds that will help alleviate some parental stress and pressure by sustaining and compensating the much needed quality child care for them and their children and reimburse the early childhood staff for what they have invested in and are worth.

Ingrid Henlon, Head Teacher, Mount Olive Child Development Program, spoke in support of the bill because it could go a long way to help both the parents and the staff who devote their time and effort to teach the children in their care.

Katherine Jones-Newton, spoke in support of the bill because it would provide workers with a fair wage and increase funding for healthcare and childcare programs.

Anthony Ligon spoke in support of the bill because it would serve three important purposes: provide an increase in wages to struggling workers, improve funding to those receiving home care and provide a living wage to the care giver.

Lindsay Farrell, State Director, Working Families Organization, spoke in support of the bill because it directs revenue toward programs that benefit low wage workers, child care and healthcare.

Karen Rainville, Executive Director, Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children, spoke in support of the bill because early childhood programs cannot retain qualified staff unless the issue of early childhood compensation is addressed.

Darlene Ragozzine spoke in support of the bill because it will provide an ability to increase the wages of those who are employed in early childhood education.

Kathy Queen, Director Emeritus, Wallingford Community Day Care Center, Inc., spoke in support of the bill because it will compensate early childhood teachers many of whom, with families, currently qualify for food stamps, low income housing and other state funded benefits.

Kimberly Dole, Executive Director, The Riverfront Children's Center, Inc.,spoke in support of the bill because it will provide the funding needed for early care teachers to earn a decent wage.

Rosalie Rivera, Teacher, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford, spoke in support of the bill because it will provide early childhood teachers with adequate compensation.

Taylor Duckworth, Director, School Readiness Program, Middlesex YMCA, spoke in support of the bill because the increase in wages will allow him to retain teachers who are so important for a child's development.

Stacylee Aylward, Education Coordinator, CRT Early Care and Education Program, spoke in support of the bill. She stated it is difficult to find and retain staff when the compensation early childhood teachers currently receive is so low. This, combined with staff incurring the expense of pursuing a college degree does not provide them with enough income to support their families.

Susan Corrice, Director, Riverfront Children's Center, Groton, CT, spoke in support of the bill. She advised this legislation will provide early childhood educators with a living wage. The money saved by the state for heating assistance, HUSKY, food stamps, etc. will outweigh the expense created to raise all early childhood educators in private and public programs to a commensurate salary to their public school counterparts.

Cynthia Henderson, Home Care Worker, spoke in support of the bill. She stated the low wages she receives make it difficult for her to make ends meet. Home care workers are forced to be on public assistance because their inadequate wages do not permit them to care for their own families. She indicated the bill will add revenue while providing her with a fair wage.

rJo Winch spoke in support of the bill. She stated corporations must step up and either raise wages or pay a fee so the government can provide the best in child care.

Miriam Paredes, CSEA, SEIU Local 2001, spoke in support of the bill because levying a fee on large profitable corporations to help pay for the state subsidized supports that their employees need to get and keep a job makes total sense.

Tom Swan, Executive Director, CT Citizen Action Group, supports the bill and believes it to be one of the most important being considered by the legislature this year. The fees collected will assist low wage earners who are working with the elderly and the disabled and those teachers involved in early childhood education.

The Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, supports the bill because it will provide low income working people the living wage they deserve.

Carmen Cela

Brenda Fulcher

Jenny Serrata

Maria Reyes

Johelis Reyes

Laleets Hart

Naomi Mitchell, Members SEIU, Local 2001, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it creates an incentive for the employers who pay low wages to raise the hourly pay rate for their employees or to pay for the state services they force their workers to access.

Susan K. Dzis, Northern Middlesex YMCA Preschool, submitted testimony in support of the bill. She indicated the low wages she earns as an early childhood educator have left her in the same financial situation as the families of the young children she is educating.

Kellyn Jeremy, Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it is time to show teachers they are appreciated by fixing the issue of low wages.

Bonnie Schumacher, Head Teacher, CT Association for the Education of Young Children, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it will help to meet the physiological needs of the teachers and their families and enable the teachers to continue to meet the needs of the children they teach each day.

Trisha Harris, Northern Middlesex YMCA Preschool, Middletown, CT, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it is her wish to see that those teaching in the early childhood field experience an increase in budgeting, wages, funding and more resources.

Edie Reichard, Director, Sleeping Giant Day Care, Inc., submitted testimony in support of the bill because she has teachers in her employ whose children qualify for her program, receive food stamps, are on HUSKY insurance and receive a housing allowance. With better compensation for the job they perform these teachers could lead better lives and not have to rely on the state to survive.

Dr. Alice Pritchard, Executive Director, CWEALF, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it recognizes that with low wages women will continue to be dependent on the state government to meet their needs. The bill ensures they have the resources to meet the needs of their families while at the same time holding employers accountable for paying low wages and no benefits.

Jenna Bereski, Preschool Teacher, South Farms Nursery School, submitted testimony in support of the bill because she wishes to see an increase in budgeting, funding and more resources available for early childhood education.

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Penelope Carner, Riverfront Childrens Center, Groton, submitted testimony in support of the bill because she is a teacher who is struggling with providing for her family on a daily basis due to her low paying job in the education field.

Elizabeth Hawthorne, Early Childhood Worker

Deb Huebner,Director, Bloomfield Preschool Program

Jessica Tejada, Child Educator

Nancy Arbito, Early Childhood Bilingual and Head Teacher

Ellen Sklar, Assistant Teacher, Childcare Learning Centers, Inc. Stamford,CT

Sue C. Tanorio, Ed.D.

Dana Binette, Teacher, Community Children's Center, Mansfield, CT

Eileen Gunning Costello, Danbury School Readiness Coordinator submitted testimony in support of the bill in order to increase finding for early care, education, social services and the low wages paid to teachers in the early childhood field.

Tiffany Murasso, Senior Director, Early Childhood and Family Center Programs,Catholic Charities, spoke in favor of the bill. She stated that while she commends the Governor for his vision for early childhood the reimbursement rate currently does not allow agencies to pay experienced, trained and educated teachers a fair salary. She noted the state must increase the rate it reimburses early childhood programs so that she can pay enough to attract and retain teachers who meet the degree requirements.

Christina Nelson, Policy Fellow, All Our Kin, submitted testimony in support of the bill. She indicated the money the proposal would generate for DSS and DDS and the Office of Early Childhood represents a significant step forward.

Marc E. Jaffe, Chief Execurive Officer, Childcare Learning Centers, submitted testimony in support of the bill because it will increase wages for Early Childhood Education staff.

Mary Cecchinato

Pauline Kirby-Coley

Lindsey O'Brien

Susan Slater

Carmen Culbero

Lisa Dahn Middletown Local Early Childhood Council, Community Children's Center

Michele Zamagni

Amy French-Wilson

all submitted testimony in support of the bill because it addresses the issue of worthy wages for child care professionals.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Eric W. Gjede, Assistant Counsel, CBIA, spoke in opposition to the bill because in addition to targeting big business it also impacts small businesses and low skilled workers. He stated that in order to pay the penalties imposed in this bill individual franchise owners will have to increase their prices or reduce costs by cutting back on employee hours resulting in less jobs and opportunities for low skilled workers.

Suzanne Bates, Policy Director, Yankee Institute for Public Policy, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. She noted it is a worthy goal to bring high paying jobs to the state but with every mandate fine, fee and regulation the state is pushing out jobs for lower income workers. She stated businesses that create jobs in Connecticut should not be penalized She indicated the jobs that pay less than $15 an hour are best suited to the youngest and most inexperienced workers. Education should be encouraged for people who want to move ahead. We should not make it even harder to do business in Connecticut.

Gerry Pastor, Executive Director, Connecticut Child Care Association, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill because while supporting the causes to which the proposed tax dollars will be directed the increased revenue would only benefit teachers working in publicly funded programs. He indicated it would increase the disparity of means between the two sectors and decrease the ability of privately funded programs to employ early childhood teachers and decrease the quality of programs for children in childcare.

The National Federation of Independent Business submitted testimony in opposition to the bill because it imposes a tax or fee upon certain employers that the state declares to be underpaying certain employees.

Reported by: Eileen Flynn

Date: March 31, 2015