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Senator Mike Woelfel Proposes Childcare Tax Credit for Working Families

Senate Minority Leader Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell) is proposing a childcare tax credit for working families, which he will introduce as a bill in the 2024 legislative session.

Woelfel’s legislation aims to strike at two goals: reducing child poverty and improving availability of child care.

“In West Virginia, our child poverty rate is 25% and trending upward,” said Woelfel. “Often, it is cheaper for one parent to stay home to care for their children instead of re-entering the work force.

“Our state ranks 4th in the nation in residents living in child care deserts. 29% of our children under six are eligible for a childcare expense subsidy. However, 81% of these kids are unserved due to insufficient slots in licensed childcare centers. Quality, affordable childcare is sparse,” said Woelfel.

Woelfel has drafted legislation that would help defray these expenses, expanding childcare options. His bill would allow tiered tax credits, allowing low-income families to receive up to 50% of their childcare expenses back as credit on their tax returns.

“These tax credits will reduce child poverty, bolster labor force participation, and grow West Virginia’s economy,” Woelfel said. “The bill is grounded in Adam Smith’s vision of the ‘invisible hand’ described in The Wealth of Nations. Individuals who pursue self-improvement unintentionally enhance the well-being of society as a whole.

“Creating these tax credits will improve economic security for those who are in an apprenticeship, improving their education, or deterred from working by the high cost of childcare. A collateral benefit will be enhanced economic viability for quality childcare centers. It’s win-win.”

Senator Woelfel leads the Democrat Caucus in the Senate.