The state’s most powerful business organization says the Show-Me State has a child care crisis that is costing Missouri more than $1-billion annually.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dan Mehan says improving access to child care will be one of the organization’s top priorities in 2024. The Chamber is co-hosting a forum on the issue this morning at Columbia’s Center for Family Policy and Research on Rock Quarry road. The event, which begins at 10:30 am, is being co-hosted by the University of Missouri and the Columbia and Jefferson City Area Chambers of Commerce.
The Chamber is frustrated that bipartisan child care tax credit legislation proposed by Governor Mike Parson (R) died during the 2023 session’s final day, due to a Senate filibuster on unrelated issues. The House sponsor of that bill, State Rep. Brenda Shields (R-St. Joseph) will be one of the panelists this morning. She serves on the Missouri House Budget Committee. State Sen,. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) was the Senate sponsor, and intends to file the bill again.
The Chamber isn’t mincing words about the issue, saying there’s a child care crisis in Missouri. Missouri Chamber president Mehan says some residents are having to make the choice between taking care of their kids and returning to work. The Chamber says a recent report shows 28 percent of respondents say they or someone in their household left a job or didn’t take a job due to problems with child care.