KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Wednesday, Kansas City’s only diaper bank, HappyBottoms, hosted several Missouri state legislators to discuss two policy issues that it will advocate for in the 2024 session, including reducing or eliminating the state’s sales tax on diapers.
“Diapers are taxed at the luxury tax level, which is at 4.25%, and we would like to see that reduced or eliminated to help families in the state of Missouri to have a little more relief when they go to the grocery store,” said Susan Belger Angulo, co-executive director of HappyBottoms.
They also discussed the most pressing issue for diaper banks in Missouri: the upcoming sunset on tax credits.
Which allows places like HappyBottoms to fundraise and provide a tax credit for donors with Missouri liability taxes.
“One of the reasons it is so important for us to get the tax credits renewed, next year’s projection is that we will be distributing more than 5.4 million diapers,” Belger Angulo explained. “So we are going to need all of the help we can get to fundraise so that we can provide those diapers to all of the families in need in our community.”
Representative Patty Lewis sponsored the elimination of sales tax on diapers for the last three years, but those bills have not become law.
“We do see bi-partisan support on eliminating or decreasing sales tax when it comes to diapers,” Lewis said.
Lewis plans to continue pushing for sales tax elimination in the upcoming legislative session.
“For parents, it impacts their mental health when they are not able to provide essential items for their children,” Lewis said. “It is a workforce issue; parents are missing work because they can’t afford diapers to send to childcare, and when we look at the babies and the physical health impacts of UTIs or diaper rash, often they have to go to the doctor to get treated which is another additional cost. So anything to help these families and babies in need, I’m in support of.”
Following the policy discussion, legislators spent the afternoon volunteering at HappyBottoms.
HappyBottoms staff also discussed some of the below statistics with lawmakers during the meeting:
Facts on Diaper Need According to the 2023 NDBN Diaper Check
- Nearly 1 in 2 US families with children under the age of 4 struggle to afford enough diapers to keep their child clean, dry, and healthy.
- 46% of families report cutting back on other essentials in order to buy diapers, including 35% reporting that they cut back on food and groceries.
- Families who report diaper need miss an average of 5.1 workdays per month because they didn’t have the required number of diapers for daycare.
- 87% of families receiving diapers are employed. Additionally, 12% of adults are working 2 or more jobs. (2023 NDBN/HappyBottoms Economic Impact Study)
- Diaper Costs have increased 32% in the last 4 years.