Eighty percent of business leaders in Missouri declare that the difficulty in finding available and affordable child care is hurting their ability to recruit and retain workers. That comes at an estimated cost of $1.35 billion annually for the state’s economy and $280 million a year in lost tax revenue.
A first step toward changing that reality in 2024 came this week with a Missouri House hearing on a comprehensive child care tax credit package. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry testified in support of HB 1488, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph). The Missouri Chamber has been the lead advocate to address child care shortages and helped secure broad support for the legislation in the House Workforce and Infrastructure Development Committee.
Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Chamber, applauded the work of Rep. Shields and reiterated that “this is not just a working parent issue but really an economic development issue. It’s time to change the conversation over child care and consider this as critical infrastructure.”
Shields agrees. “I truly believe if we solve the child care crisis, it’s another infrastructure win we can point out to businesses … and they will flock to our state.
“I think the time is now to do this for our parents, for our businesses. We can’t continue to kick this can down the road.”
The three elements of HB 1488 include:
Corches said research shows 9% of parents have voluntarily left their jobs due to child care issues.
“It’s really hard to find child care,” she added. “If you are lucky enough to find it, can you afford it? This legislation has the dual impact of expanding the capacity of child care infrastructure and supporting businesses that want to help their employees.”
The issue has broad public support. Nearly 90% of Missouri voters believe increasing access to child care will help more parents succeed in the workplace. Young people benefit greatly with significant positive impacts on children’s health, safety, education, development and future earnings/employment.
Bipartisan legislation in 2023 was endorsed by the Missouri Chamber but was one of many bills that were blocked by a small group of legislators who brought Senate action to a halt in the last days of the session.
For more information, contact Corches at email@example.com or 573-634-3511.