There could be some slicing and shuffling of Gov. Mike Parson’s state budget request to boost access to childcare for low-income Missouri children. The governor’s state budget proposal includes $52 million to increase childcare subsidy rates.

Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, has unveiled his $50 billion state budget recommendations, which would reduce the governor’s plan.

“We are going to be 100% for infants and 65% for the rest of the children,” said Smith. “We have found after looking at that more closely that we believe we can appropriate quite a bit less to fully fund that item. We’ve had less utilization in the state than we expect it to have.”

Smith said some federal dollars will also be used to boost provider rates.

“Utilization, we have found, is more about 75%,” said Smith. “And so, we’ve actually left a little bit of room there for growth and utilization and trimmed away the rest. We’re also leveraging federal funds for that, where we are using the childcare subsidy federal money that we have and directing the Department to plug that into the rate for another year.”

The legislature is on spring break this week. The House Budget Committee is expected to get to work on Smith’s recommendations when lawmakers return.

Once the House finishes its budget work, the Missouri Senate will weigh in and negotiate its differences.

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