On Dec. 5, Orleans Parish voters will have the opportunity to make a generational investment in the future of our children, workforce and economy.

Orleans Parish Proposition 2 would generate an estimated $30 million in funding for early childhood education in New Orleans for the next 20 years — without raising taxes. With the long-term funding commitment, the city can maintain the number of children enrolled in the New Orleans City Seats program, which provides free, high-quality early childhood education to low-income children.

Simply put, Proposition 2 is good for children, families, and our economy.

As a business leader, I recognize access to high-quality child care is a significant workforce issue. Early childhood education breakdowns cost Louisiana employers an estimated $800 million a year. The child care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has likely pushed this number even higher. Any parent forced to log work hours late into the night so they can care for their child during the day will tell you — child care is a necessity.

I also recognize the difficult budget decisions made by the city to present this ballot proposition to voters at a time when so much is unknown about our community's economic recovery amid COVID-19.

And while The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate questions whether the library should "shoulder the full price" of the early childhood education investment without harm, it is certain the leadership of the library wants Proposition 2 to pass.

As Gabriel Morley, the New Orleans Public Library director, said in last week's City Council budget presentation, they have a $15 million fund balance and plan to manage the reductions in funding without eliminating needed services, reducing hours, or closing branches.

If Proposition 2 does not pass, the library faces a cut of more than 50%, which would have a significant adverse impact on its operations and staff.

It is clear to me and the coalition of 75 partners who've joined me in endorsing Proposition 2, this is a prudent funding strategy for early childhood education and the library system, one that is critical to the long-term stability of our families, economy, and beloved New Orleans.

BILL HAMMACK

partner, Link Restaurant Group

New Orleans