What Does Arkansas Need From The American Families Plan
During the joint address to congress in mid April, President Biden announced his American Families Plan. It’s a 1.9 trillion dollar plan, including many things targeted directly at families like increasing the child tax credit and free two year community college.
The Biden Administration released a fact sheet laying out what the greatest needs for families in each state. We are going to start with the state of Arkansas.
Starting with higher education, the average cost of two year community college in Arkansas is 3,752 dollars a year. The Biden Administration says this is one of the reasons why 60% of Americans have not received a college degree.
The Biden Administration believes the best way to start a child’s journey to higher education and successful schooling starts in pre-school. In the state of Arkansas, only 34,584 children ages 3–4 years old have enrolled in pre-school out of the 77,531 children that qualify in Arkansas.
Another part of the American Families Plan is investing in teachers. The Biden Administration says even before the pandemic the nation was 100,000 teachers short, causing many teachers to teach in a different subject area. The state of Arkansas has had a 10% decline in new teachers.
Another portion is childcare. The average Arkansas resident pays over 7,150 dollars in childcare for their toddlers. This equals about 9% of the total income from a family with two parents. Due to the cost of child care in Arkansas, 20% of women have had to quit their jobs to take care of their children. In addition to this, 35% percent of Arkansas residents don’t have enough options to get their child daycare during the day.
The American Families Plan includes requiring paid leave for family and medical. The fact sheet says that there are a total of 110 million people in the United States who go without paid family leave, and about 84 million go without paid medical leave. The Biden Administration says having no paid leave increases the separation of opportunity and wealth between gender and people of color. They also say that having paid leave improves the health of children.
Another portion of the American Families Plan is child nutrition. According to the fact sheet, 20% of children in Arkansas don’t have food security. Along with this, 34% of Arkansas children are obese. The American Families Plan would provide 62,000 children in Arkansas with free lunch in schools and provide funding for 59,000 children to purchase food over the summer.
There are 53,000 unsecured residents in Arkansas. Under the American Families Plan it would provide health insurance for them, and roughly 27,200 Arkansas residents will save hundreds of dollars a year in healthcare. On average, Arkansas residents will save 50 dollars a year per person on health insurance.
The final part of the American Families Plan is tax cuts for families. To find out about more of the specifics for what is in the bill, listen to this episode of Blind Boys Politics.