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Tax Credits for Child Care passes House 

HB 1488, the Tax Credits for Child Care bill, passed the Missouri House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 113 – 39. 

The bill, which was sponsored by Representative Brenda Shields, includes three acts that implement tax credits for taxpayers, employers and child care providers.  

“The Missouri legislature took the first step in creating additional quality, affordable, safe and reliable childcare for Missouri families. Accessibility to childcare will allow more Missourians, if they so choose, to enter Missouri’s workforce and ultimately grow Missouri’s economy. I am an optimist and I believe this legislation has a path through the senate. I believe every elected official has heard from Missouri’s families about the struggles with finding safe, affordable quality childcare so they can consistently go to work or school. This is a real issue for Missouri families and we would be remiss if we didn’t address this crisis this session,” Shields said. 

Child care has been a prominent issue in Missouri since the COVID-19 Pandemic, which caused over one third of child care facilities to close and not reopen. Mike Parson made child care a priority during his 2024 State of the State Address this past January. It was also a priority in his 2023 address.  

“This year, alongside Senator Arthur and Representative Shields, we are again proposing three new child care tax credit programs. These programs will help improve access and affordability for families seeking child care across the state of Missouri,” Parson said in his 2024 address. 

Last November, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce released a report showing that Missouri “misses an estimated $1.35 billion annually for the state’s economy, including a $280 million annual loss in tax revenue, due to childcare issues.” 

Other Missouri groups have also spoken out about lack of child care access and its effects. 

United WE, a non profit group based in Kansas City, have funded research that found that child care is largely inaccessible for many Missouri Families. According to one of their reports, 41% of Missouri counties lack accredited child care facilities.

Access is not the only issue. The same report found that even when child care is accessible, married couples at the poverty line spend 67% of their income on child care. 

“Childcare is a significant workforce development issue and barrier for Missouri women,” said Wendy Doyle, President & CEO of United WE. “Missouri women cannot reach their full economic potential when families can’t access affordable childcare, and the Missouri Childcare Tax Credits Bill is a common sense solution that puts us on the right track.”

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it will be sponsored by Senator Lauren Arthur. Last session, Arthur sponsored a similar bill that did not make it out of committee. 

 “Making childcare more affordable and accessible is a bipartisan priority for lawmakers in both chambers, and I am proud to carry the Senate version of this legislation. Rep. Shields has been great to work with, and I appreciate the important work she is doing for kids and families in our state. My hope is that the small group of Senators who have blocked this legislation in the past will put politics aside and finally do something to help the many, many families that are having a hard time affording child care,” Arthur said. 

Although the bill passed out of the House with little resistance in the vote, its path through the Senate may not be as smooth. The Senate has had a turbulent start to the 2024 legislative session that has included GOP infighting over Initiative Petition Reform, filibustering of appointments, criticism of Senate Leadership and committee positions being stripped. The future of many bills making their way through the Senate remains uncertain.