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SPACES in Action Helps Pass Provisions of the Birth-to-Three for All Act

As part of a coordinated effort in Washington, D.C., SPACEs in Action has secured almost $16 million in the city budget for the Birth-to-Three Act for All (B3) passed last year! B3 aims to create infrastructure and support for early childhood learning, providing funding for D.C.’s child care subsidy program, increasing payment for early childhood educators, and supporting pre- and post-natal care and health programs for parents. The budget vote represented a big step forward in making the provisions of the Birth-to-Three for All Act a reality, with the council voting to invest in funding for fiscal year 2020. SPACES and other local organizations met with council members and staff, testified at hearings, placed community leaders' op-eds, called, tweeted, emailed, and came together to strategize around this budget.

The funding comes in part from a $5 million investment from the mayor, but impressively, the rest comes from the efforts of the city council to discover new sources of revenue. Six different councilmembers have provided funding (Councilmembers Vincent C. Gray, Robert C. White, Elissa Silverman, Phil Mendelson, Kenyan R. McDuffie, and Jack Evans), including several whose committees are not closely linked to B3 components. This only stands as a testament to the broad appeal of B3’s goals and to the efficacy of SPACEs in Action’s collective advocacy in partnership with other DC groups.

In tandem with the help of councilmembers, SPACEs in Action would like to note other budgeting changes in the District that will help support B3. The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute helped identify a revenue source in ineffective tax abatements, and Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeu scaled back ineffective tax credits for tech companies—the first time in recent memory that D.C. has pulled back on such spending. In addition, Councilmember David Grosso introduced a bill to raise property taxes on high-value homes. While this bill is just beginning to go through the legislative process, both of these movements will free up more funding for initiatives and programs like B3, as well as contribute support to housing, mental health, lead repairs, and workforce development.

These preliminary wins are a result of a coordinated effort. SPACEs In Action played a key role within D.C. SPACEs aimed to reach $30 million for B3 legislation, and they look to build on the success they have had thus far. The campaign could not have come this far without the collective hard work of many organizations and community leaders. Learn more about SPACES in Action here.