OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed two bills that seek to expand childcare access and keep parents in the workforce.
HB 2451 passed unanimously with a 75-0 vote and HB 2452 was approved with a 92-5 vote.
Rep. Suzanne Schreiber, D-Tulsa, wrote both bills.
HB 2451 creates tax incentives for employers and workers in an effort to grow Oklahoma’s childcare industry and make childcare more readily available to working parents.
“Addressing access to childcare in this way will ensure the growth and sustainability of this important sector of Oklahoma’s economy, and at the same time, it sends a message to Oklahoma families that we are working for common sense solutions to the real problems they face staying in the workforce.” Schreiber said. “Often the biggest barrier for Oklahomans to stay in the workforce is a lack of consistent and affordable childcare. Breaking down those barriers serves our employers too. When we strengthen the childcare industry, we strengthen all industries.”
The number of childcare facilities has been on the decline in Oklahoma, going from more than 4,000 facilities in the state in 2012 to just 2,954 in 2021.
The state has seen a 6.1 percent decrease in labor participation among mothers who have children ranging in age from infant to four years old.
HB 2451 will do the following if it is signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt:
- Qualified childcare workers will receive an annual $500 tax credit;
- Employers who provide a childcare subsidy for their employees will receive an annual tax incentive up to $30,000;
- Employers who develop or build a childcare facility for employees will receive a tax incentive up to $45,000.
HB 2452 streamlines regulations pertaining to the licensing of childcare facilities across the state. The bill cuts red tape, allowing family home childcares to operate at their licensed capacities. Schreiber said the bill will ensure childcare centers open and operate safely and efficiently, which will ensure parents their children are receiving consistent, quality care while they are at work.
Schreiber lauded the bills’ bipartisan support.
“I came to this capitol building looking to be a problem solver for the issues that Oklahomans care about the most,” she said. “Removing barriers for not only Oklahoma businesses, but also for the Oklahoma families who rely on consistent and quality childcare, is a common-sense solution that I’m proud to be a part of in my first legislative session.”
Both bills will head to the Senate for consideration.