Jul 30 2013
Thad Cochran Backs Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Bill to Extend Tax Incentive to Farmers, More Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing legislation to make permanent a tax deduction for farmers and businesses that donate food products to food banks, homeless shelters and other hunger-relief organizations.
Leahy and Cochran, joined by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), on Wednesday introduced the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act. The measure would permanently extend the same tax incentives to donate food that are now available to corporations to all businesses, including farmers, ranchers, small businesses and restaurant owners. The current tax deduction expires at the end of 2013.
“Food banks in Mississippi and around the country continue to feel the strain of an economy that is not growing fast enough. Making this tax deduction permanent would give more farmers and businesses an incentive to make surplus food donations to nonprofit food banks and other charitable organizations,” said Cochran, ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
The bipartisan bill is supported by the Mississippi Food Network, as well as many other organizations including Feeding America, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association and National Restaurant Association.
“As the Executive Director of the only food bank positioned in the state of Mississippi, I would like to state that the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act would provide a vital incentive to encourage giving to this extremely important organization. More than 600,000 individuals in Mississippi live below the poverty line. Any changes to the charitable tax deduction, such as limitations on the deductions for specific taxpayers, would result in a drop in giving at a time when our food bank is struggling to meet the needs of so many clients,” stated Walker Satterwhite of Mississippi Food Network.
Extending the tax deduction to farmers is expected to increase the amount of fresh foods offered to food banks. After the most recent extension of this tax provision, restaurants accounted for a 137 percent increase in the pounds of food donated.
As much as 40 percent of the food produced, grown and transported in the United States will be discarded because some businesses find it too costly to donate the excess food, amounting to 70 billion pounds of wasted food each year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service last September issued its “Household Food Security in the United States” report that indicated more than 50 million Americans lived in so-called food insecure households in 2011, including 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children. This rate has been consistent over the past five years. A food insecure household, according to the report, is defined as on in which “the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.”
• USDA Household Food Security in the United States, 2011: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/884525/err141.pdf
• Mississippi Food Network: http://www.msfoodnet.org/index.htm
• Mississippi Food Pantries: http://www.foodpantries.org/st/mississippi
• USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) article: http://reut.rs/1e8XCLJ