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Priority Legislation Focuses on Childcare, Early Education

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Champion of Children coalition, which includes child advocates, law enforcement, military, and business and healthcare leaders, is praising bipartisan efforts in the Missouri legislature to provide solutions to address Missouri’s childcare and early education accessibility and affordability crisis. Recent polling shows that Missourians overwhelmingly support investments in childcare and early education. Polling from October showed 86% of Missourians believed early childhood education supports kids’ success in school, 89% believed affordable childcare helps parents succeed at work, and 90% believed having childcare options for families supports businesses and local economies.

On Friday, December 1, the first day of bill filing for the 2024 legislative session, Sen. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) filed SB 742 and Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph) filed HB 1488 which would provide tax incentives for businesses that provide childcare to employees and provides a tax incentive to individuals who make charitable contributions to child care providers. The October 2023 polling showed that 84% of Missourians support a tax incentive for businesses that provide childcare benefits while 74% support tax incentives encourage charitable contributions to child care providers.

Arthur and Shields also filed SB 743 and HB 1486 respectively, both of which would provide funding for school districts to support pre-K education for kids.

“Missourians across the demographic, political, and ideological spectrum overwhelmingly support affordable, quality childcare and early learning opportunities for Missouri children,” said Brian Schmidt, Executive Director of Kids Win Missouri. “This is a crisis impacting children and families, public safety, and our economy.  Significant progress has been made already and, with the support of Missourians and legislative leaders, we look forward to working to strengthen policies and investments in childcare and early education in 2024.”

“Missouri is facing a childcare crisis that requires us to use every tool in our toolbox to meet the moment,” said Senator Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City). “In addition to a significant and sustained investment from the state, we also need to make it easier for businesses to help their employees find care. Last year, our childcare tax credit bill received bipartisan support but did not make it across the finish line. This year, we need to get this bill to the governor’s desk so we can help more parents access safe, affordable, quality childcare.”

“I am excited to reintroduce the childcare tax credit bill this session,” said Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph). “I believe we have the momentum to pass this important piece of legislation that will increase our state’s capacity to provide high-quality early childhood care. This public-private partnership opportunity leverages our state’s resources for the benefit of our children, our caregivers, and our businesses.”

Learn more about the movement to support childcare and early childhood at MoChampionofChildren.com.