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Closing arguments today in NY Trump trial; KY education activists campaign against public funds for private schools; FL expert stresses vigilance, and compassion this hurricane season; and working to create connections, age-friendly communities in Mississippi.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial, while both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

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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