Federal tax legislation has us concerned

November 7, 2017 By: Marcus Schmit

The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released its much anticipated proposal to remake the federal tax code last week. As expected, organizations across the industry and political spectrum weighed in quickly, expressing concern, confusion or exuberance over specifics in the package.

We’re worried about the impact that this current proposal would have on our ability to meet our mission much like our peers in Minnesota’s nonprofit community. Although the legislation does not specifically target key federal safety net programs it does make changes that will undoubtedly impact nonprofit organizations including Second Harvest Heartland as well as low- and middle-income Minnesotans.

Some of those changes, outlined by the Minnesota Budget Project in greater detail, include adding trillions to the federal deficit and eliminating the state income tax deduction. The elimination of the state income tax deduction is alarming for Minnesota’s cities because it would “adversely impact local governments from raising future revenues to maintain core services” according to the League of Minnesota Cities. We’re concerned because many Minnesotans turning to their local food shelves rely on those services, too.

And how about the estimated 1.5 trillion added to the federal deficit? We expect that is already paid for as outlined in the recent budget resolution passed by Congress earlier this fall. This document calls for $10 billion in one-time cuts to Minnesota’s most important hunger prevention program, SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e. food stamps) and eliminates $150 billion over the next 10 years.

The effort to remake our federal tax code has a long and difficult path ahead. And we welcome “un-complicating” our federal tax code! But our concerns will persist so long as tax reform proposals don’t make sense for our food shelf partners and the folks we all serve.

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