Leahy, Cochran, Casey And Moran Introduce Bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Tuesday announced the introduction of their bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act.  The bill would continue and expand a proven and effective tax incentive to encourage businesses and farms to donate surplus food to their local food banks.

Leahy said, “This bill is an effort I have worked on with former Sen. Richard Lugar for many years.  This is an efficient way to match a pressing need with valuable food resources that otherwise would be wasted.  As Congress considers comprehensive tax legislation in the future, I hope this can be included.  We must do more to ensure that no one in America goes hungry, and increasing the amount of food available to food banks is a vital step toward meeting that goal.”

Cochran, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, said, “Food banks in Mississippi and around the country continue to feel the strain of an economy that is not growing fast enough.  Making this tax deduction permanent would give businesses and farmers more of an incentive to make surplus food donations to nonprofit food banks and other charitable organizations.”  

Casey said, “This is a commonsense bill to ensure that we are leveraging our resources in smart ways. It is simply unacceptable that children and families continue to go hungry in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. particularly considering the amount of food that goes to waste each year.  This measure provides a reasonable bipartisan solution to help address the problem.”

Moran said, “Permanently extending the hunger relief tax incentive is a commonsense solution to increase food bank contributions — in rural and urban areas alike — and make use of the millions of pounds of food that go to waste each year. This legislation is especially critical during these difficult economic times when food banks have an increased need to provide emergency food assistance.”

During and since the recent economic recession, demand on food banks across the country has risen dramatically, with more than 50 million Americans living in food insecure households, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Despite this, 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 Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act would address this by permanently extending 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.  After this most recent renewal, in the restaurant industry alone there was a 137 percent increase in the pounds of food donated.  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. 

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

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CONTACT:           David Carle (w/Leahy), 202-224-3693
                          Chris Gallegos (w/Cochran), 202-224-6414
                           April Mellody (w/Casey), 202-228-6367                          
                           Katie Niederee (w/Moran), 202-224-6521

Press Contact

Press Contact
David Carle: 202-224-3693