The Missouri General Assembly has approved legislation which extends the availability of various benevolent tax credits.
Of most interest to the pro-life community are tax credits allocated for donations to pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes.
The law authorizing those tax credits expires next year. The bill passed extends authorization for those tax credits through the year 2024.
The pro-life provisions of the measure adopted by the General Assembly were sponsored by Representative Kevin Engler of Farmington.
A major component of Representative Engler's bill was a section that expands the statewide cap on annual contributions to eligible organizations from $2.5 to $3.5 million.
Under the terms of the program, individuals can make a charitable contribution to a crisis pregnancy center or maternity home, and then deduct 50% of that amount from the total they owe in state income tax.
A tax credit program provides substantial tax advantages over a program offering tax deductions, which merely reduce the income against which state tax is assessed.
Donors must make a minimum contribution of $100 to claim the credit, and can claim up to $50,000 in credits in a single tax year.
The fact that contributors can write off half of their donations to PRC's and maternity homes has been a Godsend to these local pro-life organizations.
To qualify for contributions that are eligible for tax credits, a PRC organization must be non-profit and provide cost-free services to assist women with unplanned pregnancies to carry those pregnancies to term.
Maternity homes must be non-profit residential facilities which are established specifically to provide housing and assistance to pregnant women choosing to carry their pregnancies to term.
The Department of Social Services administers the program, and apportions the available tax credits each year among the eligible private agencies.
The bill that received final approval from the Legislature also extended the sunset date for tax credits for donations to child advocacy centers, food pantries, and homeless shelters.
The legislation also created new tax credits for contributions to diaper banks and programs addressing the unmet health, hunger, and hygiene needs of school children.