Child care tax credit proposals face continued Freedom Caucus opposition

April 09, 2024



JEFFERSON CITY — Attempts to create tax credits for child care related causes continue to be at a roadblock because of challenges from the Freedom Caucus members in the Missouri Senate.

Senate bill 742, sponsored by Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, would create several provisions aiming to offer tax credits related to childcare services.

According to an amendment offered on the Senate floor by Arthur, the bill would offer the credits to individuals spending money for child care services, employers who provide child care services to their employees or reimburse them for some of those costs and to child care providers who pay employee payroll taxes and have certain construction expenses related to their services.

An identical House bill, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph, passed the Senate Committee on Fiscal Oversight Tuesday in a 5-0 bipartisan vote. The effort to provide tax credits for child care was praised by Gov. Mike Parson during his State of the State address.

“There are three different tax credits targeted in different areas,” Arthur said, “all with the intention of making child care more accessible and affordable.”

Despite bipartisan support, senators of the Freedom Caucus have stalled the Senate version through filibustering.

“Generally, the tax credit programs benefit some in the population, but not everybody,” said Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, who is running for governor. “I think if we want to help everybody we can do so far more effectively.”

Arthur criticized this pushback as a political stunt for senators to get their own priorities through the legislature first.

“They see this as leverage as a way to get their legislation passed by trying to take this bigger priority of the Senate, of the House and of the governor and trying to derail it so that they can pass something they would rather see done,” Arthur said.

As far as a strategy goes for moving the bill forward, Arthur said she will “sit down with the senators, see if they have actual changes they would like to see made to the bill.”

Arthur added that this may involve a larger negotiation regarding the priorities those senators wish to pursue.

“I’m always open to ideas,” Eigel said. “I would suspect that if there’s gonna be a path forward on these tax cuts, we’re going to have to see the movement of a major tax cut bill make it’s way in the Senate chamber.”

Arthur added that the child care tax credit is a priority she wants to see completed this session.

“Depending on who the next governor is, this may or may not be a priority anymore,” Arthur said.

“The fact that we have a governor who is support of this us a strong footing, and I think that’s all the more reason why it’s important to get it done this year,” she said.