Mo. legislature passes bill to protect benevolent tax credit programs

The Missouri General Assembly has passed legislation that would restore several benevolent tax credit programs.

Legislators passed SB 20 and Senate Committee Substitute for SB 15 and 19 on March 13. The original Senate bill was sponsnored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield. The tax credit programs

The bill re-established expired tax credit that individuals can claim when making donations to pregnancy resource centers, food pantries and organizations that serve children in crisis situations.

"With this bill, we tap the strong charitable spirit of Missourians to drive local efforts to help Missouri's neediest citizens," Dixon said. "It encourages individuals to give locally and support their friends and neighbors who are on the front lines helping others."

There are 56 pregnancy resource centers in Missouri. Centers assist women with unplanned or crisis pregnancies and encourage women to carry their pregnancies to term by offering free pregnancy tests, counseling and emotional and material support. Pregnancy resource centers provide cost-free, client services at the facility, as opposed to merely providing counseling or referral services by telephone.

Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield) handled SB 20 on the House floor.

When the tax credits expired on August 27, 2012, centers began to notice a drop in donations. The restoration of these credits is expected to spur more donations, thus helping thousands of people across the state.

Rep. John McCaherty (R-High Ridge), who voted to pass the legislation, said SB 20 would allow private citizens to donate their money to charitable groups they chose, while also saving the state money.

"I think our benevolent tax credits are vital for our communities and state. For the pregnancy resource centers, food banks and child in crisis centers, all of them need the help and help people that would be turning to the state for help, did they not exist."

This bill would extend most of these tax credits until Dec. 31, 2019. SB 20 now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon for his consideration. 

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