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Benevolent tax credits being weighed by Missouri Senate panel

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri Capitol building. File photo.

Legislation being considered by a Missouri Senate committee would modify provisions relating to tax credits for contributions to certain so-called benevolent organizations.

In addition, the bill extends several sunset dates for various tax credit programs such as Champion for Children, Public Safety Officer Surviving Spouse and Home Renovation for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities.

Supporters of the bill said that benevolent tax credits help tie nonprofits to their community.

“They create public value and fulfill a need that may not be filled without them,” said Jeremy Milarsky, policy director for the Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies.

Opponents are wary of a portion of the bill that extends incentives for pregnancy resource centers operated by those that are opposed to abortion which are set to expire at the end of 2019. It would increase the tax credit for such centers from $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year and extend the program for another six years.

Sean Whiting with Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri testified against the bill Tuesday.

“These centers quite honestly lie to their patients and will continue to do so,” said Whiting, “We feel that endorsing them in the form of a tax credit is a wrong way for Missouri to go.”

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, spoke out in support of pregnancy resource centers in response to Whiting’s testimony.

“I don’t think pregnancy resource centers are trying to be a one-stop medical facility,” Hoskins said, “They do a lot of good in my community … they do a lot of good for women.”

No action was taken on the bill Tuesday, which passed in the House on Feb. 27.

Follow Erin on Twitter: @erinaachenbach