Support the PACE Act to support single-parent families

I am writing today to thank Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II for supporting such an important issue as the PACE Act and policies that serve families. I met with Mr. Cleaver in April of this year as part of a group advocating for improved funding and child care standards. He was very responsive and we are incredibly grateful for his time and dedication to the families he serves.

I grew up in a single parent home with my father being my sole provider as a child. As a kid, I never understood how difficult it was to raise a child and offer the best of everything. My father had to work around the clock and still had to receive family support and financial assistance to support our family. There are currently more than 220,000 single parent families like this in Missouri.

Today, I am married, a mother of a son with a rare genetic syndrome and a daughter on the way. My husband and I, like so many others, have to both work full time, plus overtime when allowed, just to make ends meet.

The PACE Act is a bipartisan bill that is receiving support from both Republicans and Democrats. It allows tax credits for families within income brackets that could benefit the most. It would allow a family like ours to provide better quality child care to our children. It would allow us a better opportunity to send our unborn daughter to daycare and allow me to return to the workforce next year. That cost will be an approximate amount of $13,000 per year. This tax credit would help us both return to the workforce and continue to contribute to our community, and allow us to stay off of state aid (except for assistance with our son's disability) and continue to pay taxes as a two-income working family, giving more back to our community and our state.

Today, I would like to ask Rep. Sam Graves, please join the growing number of Republicans and Democrats co-sponsoring this bill. Your support is what we count on as voters! It is your support that shows us you care about our families and that you hear our needs. It gets our vote during election season. As I am sure you are aware, there are over 90,000 children from birth to 4 years old living in poverty in our state. There are almost 300,000 children under age 6 potentially in need of child care! These are families who support legislators. They vote. They count on their government to support their needs and help them support their families. The PACE Act would do just that.

As an advocate, a full time tax-paying member of society, and as a parent, I ask you to consider our families when you consider the PACE Act. Think about the families of the communities you serve. We look forward to working with you and other representatives in creating legislation that would support Missouri families!

Tara L. Zahner, Kansas City