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House Speaker Proposes Tax Credits for Food Pantry Donations

House Speaker Rod Jetton was in Springfield this afternoon to announce his plan to encourage donations to food pantries. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

House Speaker Rod Jetton was in Springfield this afternoon to announce his plan to encourage donations to food pantries.

He says he has bi-partisan support for legislation that would provide a total of two million dollars a year in tax credits for donations to food pantries all over the state.

Individual donors would receive the tax credit for gifts up to 25 hundred dollars per pantry...donors would receive a credit for half the amount they contribute.

Jetton says this winter, food pantries are struggling to meet an increase in demand.

One Southwest Missouri representative says he likes that aspect of the program.

Republican Representative Jay Wasson represents portions of Christian, Stone and Lawrence counties.

Wasson says the tax credit and its limited benefit on individual donations will encourage individuals and small businesses to get involved.

The proposal from House Speaker Rod Jetton also includes additional funding for Home Delivered Meals.

Dorothy Knowles is executive director of the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, an agency that delivers 25 hundred meals to seniors each day.

The final part of Jetton's plan calls for an expanded food stamp program to benefit seniors 65 and older.

He says he'd fund this expansion by lowering slightly the funds that families with children receive.

Jetton says he wants to see an immediate increase in food stamps for seniors from ten dollars per month to 30 dollars. Over time, he says he'd like to raise that 60 dollars per month.

Jetton says the total cost of his proposal is six million dollars, which would cover expanding food stamps for seniors, the food pantry tax credit, and extra funds for home delivered meals.