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Tax credits for charitable donations advance

Although House Bill 87 will undergo another Missouri House vote before it moves to the Senate, the House gave first-round approval Tuesday to the bill, which would reinstate tax credits for donations made to various charitable organizations.

Some of the tax credits are set to expire in 2013, but some have already expired, including ones for donations made to food pantries.

Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, said since the credits have expired, the food bank has taken many calls of concerned people asking about the tax credits because not receiving them would affect their donations.

Donations to the food bank affect every food pantry the agency services, which Kirkpatrick said includes the Samaritan Center in Jefferson City.

Ben DeFeo, operations manager at the Samaritan Center, said the expiration of the food pantry tax credit could be to blame for declining donations to the pantry. In 2012, financial donations to the Samaritan Center were down in excess of $250,000 from 2011.

If passed, House Bill 87 would extend the food pantry tax credit to Dec. 31, 2019.

“Hopefully it would encourage those people and give them the incentive to give more,” DeFeo said.

As well as reinstating tax credits for donations to food pantries, the House bill also would re-instate tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers and children in crisis.

The Children in Crisis tax credit would be renamed the Champion for Children tax credit and would include tax credits for donations to organizations such as Capital City CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate.

CASA’s purpose is to recruit and train volunteers to advocate for children who end up in the court system, due to issues such as abuse and neglect.

The legislation also extends tax credits for the surviving spouse of a slain public service official and tax credits to assist homeowners in making their house more accessible for a person with a disability.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, is not the only benevolent tax credit bill that has been filed. The Senate has already passed a similar bill and another bill filed in the House would give tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers and food pantries no expiration.

The second, House Bill 288, was filed by Rep. John McCaherty, R-High Ridge. He presented his proposal before the House’s Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities committee Tuesday afternoon.

While he said his bill specifically calls for eliminating expiration of tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers and food pantries, he’s not opposed to adding other charitable organizations, as well.

“There are struggling families who need that assistance to feed, clothe and raise their babies,” McCaherty said.

He said the Legislature needs to look long term.

“We are for these credits, and it showed today when an overwhelming majority already voted to extend,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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