Opinion, WVPA Sharing

Opinion: The Employer Childcare Tax Credit will make West Virginia a family friendly place to live and work

WV Press Release Sharing

By John B. McCuskey

West Virginia State Auditor

West Virginia is uniquely positioned to begin rebuilding our population with young families who are searching for a lifestyle that makes them better parents, and their children more prepared for success.  As we begin the exciting process of inviting the world to come be our new neighbors, there is one bill that I believe is uniquely capable of bolstering this effort and telling the world that supporting families and children is our number one priority – SB 656 (HB 4760), “The Employer Childcare Tax Credits.”

John B. McCuskey

As a father and a small business owner, I am excited about the promise and potential of SB 656. And as a lifelong West Virginian, with a commitment to helping this state grow, I am excited about the message this bill sends the world from an economic development standpoint. We tell the world that West Virginia is a place where you can raise a family and grow a business, this makes it easier to do that and gives our state a competitive advantage. 

Parents know how difficult finding quality childcare can be. And once you find it, affording it is the next challenge. 

My wife Wendy and I have two daughters, ages 4 and 7. Wendy owns a clothing store and I work with more than 150 people. Just like so many other moms and dads, we have to constantly scramble for childcare.  It’s stressful — but SB 656 could help change that for so many West Virginians.

The Employer Childcare Tax Credit would give qualifying businesses which offer childcare services certain tax breaks. This incentivizes businesses to offer childcare and makes it more affordable for them to do so.

Currently, West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation in the entire country – about 55%. That statistic is even lower for women, with 50% of women in the state in the workforce. For many people, they want to work, but the lack of affordable childcare options makes getting a job cost prohibitive.

On the other side of that, it is difficult for employers to field the workforce they need to thrive. This bill would give businesses a competitive edge at recruiting a skilled workforce and give them the opportunity to join together to start a childcare facility.

This has the potential to drive up workforce participation and that alone could pay for any potential lost tax revenue.

This is a win for everyone, businesses, the state and most importantly parents and their kids. I commend Senator Tom Takubo, the lead sponsor of the bill, along with the other sponsors and those who have voted in favor of SB 656 so far. Now, it’s time to get it across the finish line to make West Virginia the family friendly place to live and work.

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