Today the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee meets to hear testimony on the criteria Congress should use to evaluate tax provisions that expired at the end of 2011 or will expire at the end of 2012, collectively known as"tax extenders".
Feeding America commends the Subcommittee for beginning the process of examining the effectiveness of temporary tax provisions and urges the immediate extension of the food donation tax deduction extender and other temporary provisions that have clearly demonstrated effectiveness.
The food donation tax deduction extender, which gives farmers, restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses in the food industry the same enhanced tax deduction for donating excess food as other larger food companies, has had a significant positive impact on food donations since its enactment in 2006. There has been a 137% increase in the amount of food donated by restaurants since enactment. This is food that prior to expansion of the food donation deduction was being landfilled. At a time when 37 million Americans, or 1 in 8, are turning to Feeding America's food banks to help put food on the table for their families, this tax incentive is helping Feeding America meet the needs of our clients.
Unfortunately, the uncertainty caused by the expiration of the food donation tax deduction extender has caused reductions in much needed food donations. The lapse of the food donation tax deduction extender is a significant impediment for small businesses that want to donate safe, nutritious food, rather than see it end up in landfill. Studies have estimated upwards of 70 billion pounds of recoverable food goes to waste each year. Tax incentives play a vital role in encouraging farmers, retailers, food manufacturers, and restaurants to donate food to those in need.
Feeding America provides food to nearly 6 million people across all 50 states every week through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding facilities.
"We distributed more than 3 billion pounds of food last year, but it was not enough to help everyone in need," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."Food banks across the country are stretched thin in their efforts to meet sustained high demand. They are also experiencing a more than 30 percent decline in food donated from USDA. Today, more than ever, we need a federal policy that helps increase the amount of food available to Americans at risk of hunger," Escarra said.
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