This week, the Republican-led Congress passed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code, which President Trump signed into law today.
This tax bill has the potential to hamper the Food Bank in two significant ways: It could disincentivize charitable giving, and it will trigger cuts to safety-net programs in order to reduce a ballooning federal deficit.
By doubling the standard deduction, the tax bill would effectively eliminate the incentive for charitable contributions for millions of taxpayers. Any changes to this provision – which has encouraged charitable giving for more than a century – could result in a devastating decline in donations. Because 60% of the Food Bank’s operating revenue comes from individual donors, we are very concerned that this could be a direct blow to our operating budget – hurting our ability to serve our community.
In addition, the tax cuts will cause a major increase in the federal deficit, which politicians say they will balance by cutting safety-net programs such as SNAP (Food Stamps) and Medicaid. According to House Speaker Paul Ryan,’We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.’
It has been our experience that such pressure results in disproportionate cuts to programs intended to help those most in need. Achieving deficit reductions ‘on the backs’ of our most vulnerable neighbors will cause even more people to turn to the Food Bank and other nonprofits for help. It could generate demand for food assistance that we cannot meet.
These are uncertain times for not just the Food Bank, but nonprofits around the nation. We are issuing an urgent message to our donors and partners that in 2018 we will need their support more than ever.
Show your support: click here to donate to San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.