The Missouri Senate has taken action to extend tax credits available to Missouri citizens who donate to pro-life pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes. The Senate action would continue the life of
those tax credits through August 28th of the year 2015.
The renewal of the pro-life tax credit program was included in a broad-based bill revising a wide range of tax credits authorized under Missouri law. While the extension of the pregnancy resource center and maternity home tax credits was never a matter of controversy, the subject became entangled in a highly contentious debate in the Missouri Senate regarding other tax credits designed as economic development incentives.
The Senate endorsed the bill by a vote of 26-8 last week during the current special session, and it now moves to the House, where there is also strong support for the reauthorization of the pro-life tax credits. Without action by the Missouri Legislature in the near term, the pregnancy resource center tax credits will expire on
August 28th next year. The law creating the tax credit program was first enacted in 2006.
Under the program, individuals who donate to a pregnancy resource center or maternity home can claim a tax credit of 50% of the amount contributed. In other words, if you contributed $100 to a PRC, you can reduce your tax liability for the next year by $50. Contributions can be made through securities and real property as well as cash. The maximum tax credit that any individual can claim during a single year is $50,000. There is a ceiling of $2 million in total tax credits that can be authorized for pregnancy resource centers in any fiscal year, and the same ceiling exists for total donations to maternity homes.
Donations must be made to tax-exempt non-profit organizations that are "established and operated
primarily to provide assistance to women with crisis pregnancies or unplanned pregnancies." Such agencies must offer "pregnancy testing, counseling, and emotional and material support" or provide housing to assist women in carrying their pregnancies to term.
Sam Lee of Campaign Life and Kerry Messer of the Missouri Alliance for Life have led the effort to retain this valuable program that encourages tax-advantaged donations to numerous life-saving agencies all across Missouri.
Kerry Messer, the lobbyist for the Missouri Alliance for Life, the association of state pregnancy resource centers, applauded the Senate action. "One of the first principles related to the proper role of government is to discourage those who do evil, and reward those who do good. Using tax policy to encourage good works is more than just a good cause. It falls under the category of policies the State is Biblically obligated to support."
There are currently 56 pregnancy resource centers recognized by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as eligible to extend tax credits for donations to their programs. Over 37,000 clients were served by these agencies during 2010.
Pregnancy resource centers traditionally offer free pregnancy tests, referrals for prenatal care, and healthy pregnancy, childbirth,
and breastfeeding classes. Many PRC's have moved to a medical model where ultrasounds are offered on site. PRC's often also provide help with material needs such as maternity clothes, baby clothes, layettes, and car seats. Some even provide rent and utility assistance.
Pregnancy resource centers rely heavily on a dedicated corps of community volunteers. These volunteers are highly trained, providing counseling and education not only on the subjects of pregnancy and childbirth, but also in
the areas of finance and continuing education goals. Many PRC's ensure that their support efforts are equally focused on the fathers of preborn children.
The legislation approved by the Senate also extends the tax credit for donations to food pantries through August 28, 2015. Missouri taxpayers can also claim a 50% tax credit for donations of cash or food to tax-exempt organizations that distribute emergency food supplies to low-income Missourians.
We encourage you to contact your state representative to let them know of your support for these highly beneficial tax credit programs that assist women, children, and families in need. You can use this link to get in touch with your state representative:Missouri House