Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
December 15, 2017
by Geoff Plague

You, like many Americans, might only think about your taxes when the April 15th deadline approaches. However, for millions of American families, federal programs funded by our taxes, and the structure of the federal tax code itself, provide the lifeline they need to afford to put food on the table and pay the rent.

Families like these include Derek’s. He’s a single parent of three children who works in security for the transit system in St. Louis. Despite his full-time job, Derek faces considerable challenges in providing food for his family and affording other essential living expenses. Often he’s forced to make tradeoffs to ensure his children have enough to eat. Feeding America knows that Derek isn’t alone, and that potential changes to the federal tax code could have a harmful impact upon millions of families like his across the country.

With those families in mind, Feeding America developed tax policy principles that are grounded in our commitment to assisting food insecure individuals and families, and our belief that the best public policy decisions are those that encourage Americans to give generously to charity while ensuring government has the resources necessary to meet our collective obligations to ensure the well-being of our neighbors.

We used these principles to analyze the impact of tax reform legislation currently under consideration on families like Derek’s, and our evaluation was based on the extent to which the legislation:

  1. Prioritizes support for those individuals and families most at risk of being food insecure;
  2. Supports short- and long-term funding for federal nutrition assistance programs; and
  3. Preserves tax incentives for charitable contributions and maintains current levels of charitable giving.

Unfortunately, we concluded the legislation would likely provide little direct benefit to food insecure individuals in the United States. At the same time, it would likely undermine efforts to provide both public and private nutrition assistance to those individuals and families who struggle with adequate access to food.

Legislation that provides approximately $5 trillion in tax cuts can surely do better by the individuals, like Derek, who struggle every day to put food on their family’s table.

Tags: Fighting Hunger in Action

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