(The Center Square) — Ohio parents or guardians who buy infant formula could get a $600 tax break if a bill proposed by state Democrats passes the General Assembly .
Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland, and Shayla Davis, D-Garfield Heights, used a press conference to announce their plan for the one-time tax credit that they said would offset the cost of formula in half at during the first year of a baby’s life.
“The high cost of infant formula is causing financial hardship for many of our families,” Sweeney said. “Ohioans should not have to worry about the price of basic and necessary expenses such as formula. This legislation will not only ensure the health of our babies by providing adequate nutrition, but will also reduce the burden felt by parents and guardians and will put money back in the pockets of working families.
The two pointed to an American surgeon general fact sheet That said, the price of formula milk in the country hovers between $1,200 and $1,500 per family for the first year of a baby’s life.
“It is our responsibility to protect the youngest and most vulnerable people in our communities,” Davis said. “We want to protect the health and well-being of our babies, as well as relieve the financial strain on working-class families, and this legislation is a big step in that direction.”
The legislation, which awaits a committee assignment, comes after Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state had received a waiver that allows families receiving WIC more options for formula as a nationwide shortage continues.
The Ohio WIC office received the US Department of Agriculture waiver that gives families eight additional Mean Johnson products that are now covered.
“While it is good news that the formula factory that caused the shortage is back in business, it will take weeks for the formula to restock; in the meantime, we will continue our work to ease the burden on families,” DeWine said.
The governor also said the state is working with the USDA to temporarily remove requirements for WIC-enrolled families who use a special prescription form. The formula requires a prescription from the child’s health care provider to treat a medical condition.
Currently, a WIC participant can only purchase the specific brand prescribed. The waiver would allow WIC-enrolled families to purchase private label equivalents of certain formulas without returning to their healthcare provider for a new prescription.