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Bipartisan Legislation Would Expand and Make Permanent Tax Incentives for Businesses that Donate to Food Banks / Food Insecurity Rate in State is 14.3% / Senate Could Take Up Tax Extenders Bill Which Annually Draws Broad Bipartisan Support in December

Washington, DC - Ahead of Thanksgiving and with nearly two million Pennsylvania residents food insecure, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today called for inclusion of legislation that would boost food banks in an upcoming end of year tax extenders bill. Casey discussed the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act that would expand and make permanent tax incentives for businesses that donate to food banks.

“As we move into Thanksgiving it’s important to remember that too many Pennsylvanians are food insecure and struggling with hunger,” Senator Casey said. “Including this legislation in the end of year tax extenders bill will make permanent and expand the current tax incentives we have for businesses to donate to food banks. I’m calling on Congress to pass this legislation that will better help those in need to receive food, especially during this time of year.”

The Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act would permanently extend the same tax incentives to donate food, that are now available to corporations, to all businesses including small businesses, farmers, ranchers and restaurant owners. Congress recently extended this tax incentive through the end of 2013. The Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act would make this provision permanent, and would extend the deduction to farmers who often have large amounts of fresh food to donate.

Feeding America has said that following a 46 percent increase in demand during the recession, food banks are already struggling to meet need in their communities. Almost 15 percent of Pennsylvanians experience food insecurity and over 20 percent of children in Pennsylvania are food insecure (the household experienced a shortage of food). According to Feeding America, 35 percent of food insecure children are likely not eligible for SNAP or other income-based Federal nutrition programs. Despite the need for food assistance, as much as 40 percent of the food that is produced, grown and transported in the United States will never be used as some businesses find it too costly to donate the excess food, amounting to 70 billion pounds of wasted food each year.

The bipartisan bill is supported by many organizations including Feeding America, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufactures Association and the National Restaurant Association.

County data for Pennsylvania can be found here: LINK.