Lawmakers are attempting to entice and support big business investments that need child care for employees

Lawmakers are hoping to encourage more businesses to offer child care to employees through tax credits.

On Thursday, a committee in the House of Delegates signed off on three bills aimed at addressing a statewide childcare shortage. Multiple counties don’t have a child care single provider, and data shows that more than 26,000 kids in the state can’t access child care despite need.

Child care is a priority in the House of Delegates this session as the state is attempting to entice and support big business investments that need childcare availability for employees. 

Last month, Gov. Jim Justice said that seven companies would generate more than 570 new jobs. 

Del. Kathie Hess Crouse, R-Putnam, leads a bipartisan group in the House focused on addressing child care availability this session.

“We have tons of jobs coming — thousands of jobs coming in, and because of that, we need to make sure that we have child care available for these families that will be moving to West Virginia or are already here and taking on new jobs,” she said. 

The following child care bills moved out of the House Committee on Senior, Children and Family Issues:

  • House Bill 5051 would provide a tax credit to for-profit and nonprofit corporations for expenditures related to operating existing on-site or sponsored child care facilities. Multiple employers could operate a facility jointly and still be eligible for the tax credit; 
  • HB 5052 would increase the tax credit for employers providing child care for employees;
  • HB 5293 would establish a pilot child care program, known as a “Tri-Share Program,” where the state, participating employers and their employees  contribute one-third of the total cost of child care. The program would be limited to low-income employees.

Additional legislation addressing the child care shortage will be introduced this year, Crouse said.

Bills will next be vetted by the House Committee on Finance, where lawmakers will get a closer look at how much the proposals would cost the state. 

Justice previously announced his own plan to help parents with child care through a proposed “Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. According to a press release, the plan would benefit 16,000 families in the state through a state tax credit equal to 50% of the allowable federal child and dependent care credit.

The maximum child care credit would range from $300 to $525 for one child and from $600 to $1,050 for two or more children depending on the amount of out-of-pocket expenses incurred and income level.

House members have said they expect the governor to support their child care legislation should it reach his desk. 

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