HARRISBURG – Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36) introduced legislation today that would dedicate existing state tax credits to regional food banks.
Senate Bill 1353 would dedicate a portion of the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits to food banks. The NAP program offers tax credits to serve as incentives for businesses to contribute to worthy causes in the community, such as food banks, affordable housing, crime prevention, education and job training.
Last year, state support for NAP declined from $18 million to $9 million. The governor’s budget proposal for 2010-11 would reduce NAP funding to $8.1 million. In addition, recent revisions to NAP have made it increasingly difficult for Pennsylvania’s food banks to compete for funding. NAP tax credits allocated to Pennsylvania food banks dropped from $4.2 million in 2008-09 to $2.8 million in 2009-10. DCED recently communicated to food banks that their awards will be reduced to $1.8 million in 2010-11.
Brubaker’s legislation would ensure that the incentive for businesses to offer substantial donations of food and funds under NAP will continue.
“The Neighborhood Assistance Program is a vital source of funding for regional food banks, and more Pennsylvanians are turning to these organizations to meet their nutritional needs due to the recession” said Brubaker, who co-chairs the legislative Hunger Caucus. “These organizations are under a great deal of financial stress due to the increased demand for services, and it is important to ensure that food banks have access to funding through this tax credit program.”
In 2008, Pennsylvania’s regional food banks distributed about $200 million worth of food to Pennsylvanians in need. Regional food banks generally distribute between $10 and $15 worth of food for every $1 donated, Brubaker said.
Pennsylvania food banks have experienced a cumulative increase of over 50 percent in the number of people accessing their emergency food networks over the past two years.