For transparency’s sake, lawmakers should be upfront about the beneficiaries of a bill


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Bill aimed at reducing food waste was vetoed by the White House

The Fighting Hunger Incentives Act of 2015, if passed, would change the country's tax code to permanently extend a provision allowing food donations to be written off. Theoretically, this would encourage restaurants, supermarkets, and farms to donate more of their excess food.

On the surface, it seems like a slam dunk. But as is the case with anything in Congress these days, things aren't as cut and dry as that.

The idea is a pretty easy sell, so it's not surprising that it made it out of the House Ways and Means Committee (with a 24-14 vote). According to legislative prognosticators, it's expected to easily pass in the House with bipartisan support. So why is the Obama Administration already threatening to veto it?

Solution: Call out lawmakers for disguising bills as giveaways for donors

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition to End Hunger, said the bill could provide beneficial incentives for some, but worries that it is not targeted enough. "You need to carefully separate the farmers who would be able to give away more food from big corporations that are just going to get another tax break," he said.
In fact, that higher-income individuals and large corporations will come out of this bill as the winners had the White House on alert last year. See, this isn't the first time Reed tried to pass this bill. Last year, it was proposed and eventually swallowed up in the more exhaustive "America Gives More Act," which included tax code rewrites for other charity donations as well. (That massive super-bill would have added a whopping $16.2 billion to the deficit over the next decade.) While it passed in the House, it died in the Senate, much to the delight of the White House, who recognized that those tax breaks would primarily benefit the rich.

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Category: Governance


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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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