Missouri voters to decide on ballot measure for property tax exemptions for childcare facilities

In Missouri, a constitutional amendment that would allow childcare establishments to be exempt from property taxes was certified for the Nov. 5, 2024, ballot.

On May 12, 2023, the Missouri House of Representatives voted 91-27 to pass the amendment. It previously passed the Missouri State Senate by 33-0 on March 23, 2023. To propose a constitutional amendment for voter approval, the state Legislature needs to pass it with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

The amendment would enable an assessing authority to grant tax exemptions for real and personal property primarily used to care for a child outside his or her home.

Sen. Travis Fitzwater (R), who proposed the amendment, said, “We obviously have a childcare facility shortage in our state; we need to provide opportunities for folks that get childcare. This is just one incentive to try to make it easier for the facilities to provide childcare. We just want to encourage childcare facilities in the state to expand and have opportunities to keep more of their money, because they’re providing a real necessity of a service in the state of Missouri.”

Heidi Sutherland, director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that while more needs to be done to address childcare in Missouri, this amendment may address the need for childcare of workers. She said, “We do a CEO survey of our members every year, and so this year 78 percent of business leaders in the state said that lack of childcare availability is making it difficult to find workers, and it’s keeping workers out of the workforce, especially single parents and especially women. It’s going to take an all-of-the-above approach to tackle the childcare crisis, but I think this measure is a great way to start.”

This is the first statewide ballot measure to be certified for the ballot in Missouri for 2024. In Missouri, a total of 136 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2022. Eighty-six (63.23%) ballot measures were approved, and 50 (36.77%) ballot measures were defeated. In 2022, Missouri voters approved three ballot measures and rejected two.