Lehigh Valley Live: LTE: Gov. Wolf’s ‘pay them more’ comment insensitive to small business owners
April 23, 2020

Being a small business owner right now is so frustrating. With the additional weekly unemployment benefits my child care staff is receiving, they are making more than I could ever pay them. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that my staff is being taken care of financially. They deserve it.

The frustration comes when Gov. Wolf says, “If you want your staff to come back, just pay them more.” I would love to, governor, but where are we supposed to get that money when subsidy reimbursement rates are not increased for child care centers? Or when private-pay families would have to be charged more, yet many of them are now unemployed, and therefore do not need child care?

To top it off, the Paycheck Protection Plan — a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses like mine to keep workers on the payroll — has Herculean requirements for the loan to become a grant that doesn’t need to be fully paid back.

Child care centers and small businesses are in a complete Catch 22. We need state and federal policies to help us , not hinder our efforts. Policy makers must realize many businesses, mine included, employ low-income wage earners as well as care for the children of low-income workers. Some of these are the essential workers that people are relying on each day. When businesses reopen, they’ll be relying on child care. Let’s get fiscal strategies in place to make sure this can happen.

Sophia Estrella

Executive director, Elevation Community Center


Read the LTE here.