Tax Break for Stay-at-Home Parents Makes Oklahoma a National Leader

A newly approved tax credit for stay-at-home parents may be the first of its kind in the nation, according to a press release from the state House of Representatives:
"This legislation puts stay-at-home parents on an equal footing with those who use day care when it comes to tax policy," said House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. "There's no reason for the tax code to discourage parents from personally caring for their children."

Senate Bill 861, which was signed into law this week, contained several components of a bipartisan tax relief agreement, including a tax credit for stay-at-home parents similar to that currently offered for parents with children in daycare ...

"If this tax credit makes it financially easier for a loving mother or father to stay at home and care for a child, every dollar the state gives up is worth it," [state Rep. Randy] Terrill said.

An estimated 227,000 Oklahoma families will qualify for the child care tax credit, reaping a combined $13.6 million in benefit every year. The tax credit applies only to families with minor children and income of less than $100,000 annually.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has indicated that Oklahoma may be the first state in the nation to offer a tax credit to stay-at-home parents, according to a recent Associated Press report.

The tax break is already receiving praise from policy experts.

"Oklahoma lawmakers deserve high praise for giving families with a stay-at-home parent a tax credit," said Bryce Christensen, author of Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America. "Researchers have now amassed a mountain of evidence showing that young children are far better off if cared for by an at-home parent rather than the employees of a day-care center. So wise policymakers will help - not penalize - families who make sacrifices to keep one parent at home. Oklahomans can count themselves very fortunate in having such wise policymakers. And Americans in other states can only hope that their political leaders will recognize the benefits of following Oklahoma's example."

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