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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

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The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

MO Legislation Would Help Families Afford Child Care

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Monday, March 27, 2023   

Like others across the country, many Missouri families struggle with the cost of child care, and state lawmakers are proposing some relief.

Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, serves Webster County, where the average child care cost for a family with two young children is more than $12,000 a year a year. Kelly has introduced legislation to create a state child care tax credit for parents who qualify for the federal child care tax credit. As with the federal credit, it requires having earned income.

Kelly pointed out no one who's paying attention to "everyday reality" can miss the fact young families are struggling.

"Nobody wants to give a handout, we only want to invest and give a hand up," Kelly stated. "This is money that people have earned, and we're putting it back in their pocket, once we can verify that they're making responsible choices, for their family and for their businesses."

Under House Bill 1335, individuals earning up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000 would be eligible for a tax credit toward their child care expenses. The amount would be $1,800 for children up to age two, and $1,200 for kids ages three to six, for a maximum of two children per family.

Kelly added the credit is nontransferable and nonrefundable, features which can make tax credits more expensive. She explained her bill allows parents to choose their child care provider, who does not have to be licensed, but it does include limitations.

"You cannot have your spouse qualify as a day care provider," Kelly noted. "You can't have an older child qualify. It's all very tightly run; it's all very accountable."

Kelly stressed she supports the governor's child care tax credits included in House Bill 870, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph.

The credits in Shields' bill would go to child care providers, corporations subsidizing their workers' child care expenses, and donors to child care centers, whereas the credits in Kelly's bill would go directly to families. Kelly feels combining the tax credits in both bills would benefit people "in every corner of the state."


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