BATON ROUGE, La. – Researchers at LSU said Tuesday that early childhood education and childcare programs are popular among Louisiana residents even if it means raising taxes to support them.
The report states that three-fourths of the 781 residents surveyed support more spending on childcare for infants and toddlers from low-income families, and 69% support more state spending on childcare from all families regardless of income.
More than 50% of the respondents said they would be willing to pay more taxes to expand these programs.
The findings were in the final report on a survey of state residents by the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.
Gov. John Bel Edwards stated Monday that early childhood education is a priority. He made the comment in his State of the State Address as a new legislative session began, but he did not offer any monetary amounts he would allocate toward it.
The Legislature earlier approved gambling on fantasy sports in many parishes with the idea that the tax revenue would be spent on early childhood education fund.
The Louisiana Early Childhood Education Commission, which was created by the Legislature, is pushing the state to invest an additional $85.8 million in educating children from birth to age 3. That initial investment could create an economic benefit of up to $1.8 billion in the next 10 years.
Despite the influx of federal dollars for education from COVID-19 relief bills, state leaders understand that Louisiana needs long-term solutions rather than a quick fix.
Voters in many parishes also have approved gambling on real sports, and the early childhood education commission has suggested using the taxes on those winnings to expand early childhood education.
But legislative leadership, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez, have suggested that sports wagering revenue will not be allocated to the early childhood education fund despite the majority support for it in the state.