One of our taxpayer activists, Dorothy, wrote me an email (which I have pasted below), complaining about the huge increases in preschool fees that have been mandated this month by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Here was my response:
Your daughter is dealing with a rotten government scam, from start to finish.
A lot of economists will tell you that the entire licensing scheme is a racket, and that nearly all of the useful and efficient regulation of child care centers is achieved through reputation, parental/consumer choice, and the tort system.
It is wrong for DHS to raise fees to astronomical heights to prop up a mostly useless licensing scheme.
Unfortunately, as you can see in this news article, the people who ostensibly defend the rights of children in Arizona have been barking up the wrong tree:
The child rights activists are demanding that the government spend more money to prop up the licensing scheme, when they should be working toward pulling the plug on the whole thing.
Thank you for writing to me. You have reminded me that I need to bring this matter up before members of the Legislature’s HHS committees.
Here was Dorothy’s email to me:
Sent: Sunday, October 25, 2009 8:50 AM
I’m not sure if you can help shed any light on the below email my daughter received from the preschool (Bethany Learning Center) that her son goes to. Is this a done deal? Is there anything we can do besides writing letters, etc. the director suggests. This seemed to come out of nowhere – we hadn’t heard anything about it.
Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
As most of you have either heard or read this past week, The Department of Health Services is planning a licensing increase for licensed preschools. The increase will be raised by 8,800 percent. For (Name of preschool withheld) our fee will multiply from $150.00 to $13,442.00 based on the sliding scale fee schedule. The proposal for the increase was made due to deep budget cuts. Unfortunately the escalation of this proportion is outrageous.
This increase in fees comes at a difficult time for preschool and child-care providers. We have all been hit hard with the recession. The implementation of these new fees with no time to plan or budget is too much too fast. We agree the rates are due to go up, however this is something that needs to be done gradually not overnight.
(Name of preschool withheld), as most facilities, is scrambling to figure out how this increase can be paid for. Ultimately these costs are likely to be passed on to families who attend each facility. The Department of Health Services is organizing a public meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday, October 27, from 5:00-6:00pm, for those of us affected by this increase to offer some alternatives to the proposed fee structure. If you are as concerned as I am about the increase in licensing fees, plan on attending the meeting so your voice can be heard.
As the Director of (name withheld) I would like to encourage you write a letter to Governor Jan Brewer letting her know that this is outrageous. It is a back door tax being imposed and it has the potential of putting facilities such as ours out of business. The governor signed this bill; she needs to be aware of the impact. In addition your concerned e-mails to the legislators letting them know that this fee structure will be devastating to child-care facilities will employ them to get involved. I have included the links to the e-mails of Will Humble – Interim Director of Department of Health Services; Bob Burns – President of the Senate; Kirk Adams – Speaker of the House; Nancy Barto – Chairperson of the Health and Human Services Committee; the Senate Appropriations Committee members; the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee; and Governor Brewer’s office.
Let me know if you have any additional questions.