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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Critical Child Care Funding Hangs in the Balance as Missouri Budget Nears Deadline

A special session of the Missouri Legislature to complete the budget may be needed if it is not finalized by Friday at 6 p.m.
luzitanija - stock.adobe.com
A special session of the Missouri Legislature to complete the budget may be needed if it is not finalized by Friday at 6 p.m.

Child care advocates are pushing for increased funding as the budget deadline approaches this Friday.

Robyn Schelp, director of policy and advocacy for Kids Win Missouri, said ensuring increases to child care subsidies remain in the budget are vital for every Missourian whether they have children or not.

"It impacts the entire workforce," Schelp pointed out. "We have to stop thinking that this is a parent's issue. It isn't. If we want teachers in the classroom and doctors at their offices and whatnot, we have to make sure there's childcare for their kids."

The legislature adjourned after just about 10 minutes on Monday, following a record 41-hour filibuster which went to 4 a.m. Thursday without agreeing on a budget. Missouri lawmakers have only missed the budget deadline one time, in 1977.

Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina, the Senate Majority Leader said on social media Friday that the Missouri Freedom Caucus only yielded the floor under the threat of a motion to end debate. She tried to introduce the Federal Reimbursement Allowance, which she said is crucial for funding to offset general revenue and vital for Medicaid services.

The budget includes childcare subsidies under House Bill 2002. Schelp noted the House's proposal would support only 23,000 children, restricting expansion and compliance with federal guidelines.

"Our hope is that it stays with the governor's recommendation, of that $52 million," Schelp emphasized. "Allowing them to go to that 100th percentile of payment for infants and toddlers and then the 65th percentile for preschool and afterschool."

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, is leading an effort to convince fellow members of his party to approve abortion restriction legislation and a bill on ballot initiatives in Missouri before agreeing to a vote on the reimbursement allowance.

The Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Born and raised in Canada to an early Pakistani immigrant family, Farah Siddiqi was naturally drawn to the larger purpose of making connections and communicating for public reform. She moved to America in 2000 spending most of her time in California and Massachusetts. She has also had the opportunity to live abroad and travel to over 20 countries.