What Biden’s new $1.75 trillion spending bill means for Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An infrastructure package is awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature, but there is another large piece of legislation up for debate in Washington D.C. that provides money for childcare. 

It’s called the Build Back Better Framework. The Biden administration said the $1.75 trillion package includes affordable childcare, free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, tax cuts, and expanded health care coverage. But who is stuck with the cost?

“Through this plan, families will pay more than 7% of their salary on childcare,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

This means more than 400,000 children under the age of 5 from families earning under less than $212,588 will pay no more than 7% of their income for high-quality childcare.

Cardona said in an interview that the plan is centered around families, offering free preschool to more than 110,000 Missourians. 

“There’s funding for teachers to get training, which allows for a substitute to be hired, and maybe better salary for some of these educators who are working really hard, and unfortunately, having to work two or three jobs,” Cardona said. 

According to the National Education Association (NEA), Missouri has the lowest starting salary for teachers in the country, at $32,970. The Show-Me State ranks 45 in the country when it comes to average salary, $50,817. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education unveiled a new recruitment initiative to help the teacher shortage in the state. The online program has resources available for prospective teachers, allowing them to access free training programs, scholarships, and internship opportunities. Over the next three years, the state is investing $50 million into the recruitment tool. 

Fourteen community colleges in Missouri will also receive grants to develop and deliver innovative training programs for jobs in the public health, childcare, and manufacturing sector, according to the White House. 

The plan will provide nearly 455,000 Missouri students with resources to purchase food during the summer months and will expand free school meals to an additional 126,000 during the school year. 

The package also includes a tax cut for low-wage workers by extending the American Rescue Plan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion. In Missouri, this means 338,8000 workers will receive tax cuts up to $1,500. 

Under the framework, 97,000 uninsured Missourians will gain Medicare.

“This plan is paid for by billionaires who are now going to be asked to pay their fair share,” Cardona said. “For those making under $400,000, they will not see a change in their tax structure at all.”

Missouri’s education department would not go on camera but said this plan supports many of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s priority areas. 

The price tag for the Build Back Better Framework is around $1.75 trillion. It also includes climate change legislation, which in Missouri means cutting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. 
Lawmakers return to Washington D.C. next week.

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