Senate approves tax credits for donations to soup kitchens and more

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are considering giving out tax credits for donations to soup kitchens, homeless shelters and diaper banks.

Senators voted 30-3 in favor of the proposal Tuesday. It now heads back to the House because of Senate changes.

If passed, the bill would make tax credits available that are worth 50 percent of gifts to soup kitchens, homeless shelters and diaper banks. The program now applies to child advocacy centers, maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers.

Regular volunteer and son of the Fulton MO Soup Kitchen President Ben Bader said they serve about 300 or more people weekly and donations are vital.

“Our soup kitchen relies solely on our donations and volunteers,” Bader said.

Joe Bader, another soup kitchen volunteer, said the passing of this bill into a law would benefit many more people than just the people they serve.

“We, at the soup kitchen believe that this bill will do a great deal of good for those in need,” Joe Bader said. “It will not only benefit our organization, but other groups that are able to operate on donations.”

Bader said the possibility of tax credits would increase the likelihood of donations to soup kitchens.

“With so many organizations out there that can be written off on taxes already, it’s easy to see why people choose to donate to them first,” Joe said. “We believe these tax credits will merely make us an easier choice for many people.”

The Voluntary Action Center of Columbia works with homeless people and also with the local diaper bank Healthy Bottoms. The executive director of the Voluntary Action Center, Nick Foster, said they rely heavily on donations, as do the groups they work with.

Foster said the possibility of tax credits could lead to bigger donations.

“A lot of people are willing to make a larger donation if a portion of those are offset by tax credits, so I can’t imagine it being anything but helpful,” Foster said.   

If passed, the legislation would also raise the maximum amount of total tax credits available for children's organizations from the current $1 million per year to $1.5 million starting in July 2019. For maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers, the caps would each go up from $2.5 million to $3.5 million.