FILE: Empty Baby Formula Shelves At Walmart

Empty shelves denote the lack of baby formula supplies in a scene repeated nationwide.

By J.D. Davidson

Ohio parents or guardians who buy infant formula could receive a $600 tax break if a bill proposed by state Democrats gets through 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 they say would offset the cost of formula by half during the first year of a baby’s life.

“The high cost of formula causes many of our families to struggle financially,” 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 proper nutrition but will also reduce the financial burden felt by parents and guardians and put money back into the pockets of working families.”

The two pointed to a U.S. Surgeon General fact sheet that said the price of formula in the country fluctuates 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 wellness of our babies, as well as take the financial strain off of working-class families, and this legislation is a big step in that direction.”

The legislation, which is awaiting a committee assignment, comes after Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state received a waiver that allows families receiving WIC more options for formula as a nationwide shortage continues.

The Ohio WIC office received the waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 operating again, it will take weeks for 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 families enrolled in WIC who use special prescription formula. The formula requires a prescription by the child’s healthcare provider to treat a medical condition.

Currently, a WIC participant can only buy the specific brand that is prescribed. The waiver would allow families enrolled in WIC the option to buy store-brand equivalents of certain formulas without returning to their health-care provider for a new prescription.

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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