West Virginia officials face a tough challenge as they seek new ways to fund child care assistance for low-income families.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has told parents, care providers and child advocates that he hopes to avoid making it tougher to qualify for the aid.
But Tomblin is also expected to tell administration agencies within a week or so that they must help close an estimated $400 million gap in the next state budget.
That deficit threat could lead to across-the-board cuts, or cuts targeting specific programs. Tomblin plans to issue guidance to state government agencies for the spending proposals they must submit by Sept. 1 for the 2013-2014 budget year.
Child advocates say West Virginia can find the money for child care aid, if it's truly a priority.
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