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Governor signs tax credit bill to help foster care kids and families in crisis

Photo by News Mississippi.

A new law was signed by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that provides a $1,000, dollar-for-dollar tax credit for donations to organizations that serve children and families in crisis. The law will enable nonprofits across the state to expand their outreach to children in foster care, disabled children, and families in poverty.

“Thanks to the visionary leadership of Governor Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and Speaker Philip Gunn, Mississippi is leading the way in empowering the private sector to work alongside government to create a better future for our children in foster care,” said Ron Matis, Chairman of the Mississippi Faith Advisory Council. “I am thankful that the Faith Advisory Council, in only its first year of existence, was able to work with lawmakers to launch this new initiative.”

The Mississippi Faith Advisory Council was created in 2017 to bring together diverse faith leaders around the state to help address the systemic problems of poverty and family breakdown in Mississippi.

“This law is a game changer for Mississippi nonprofits,” said Dr. Jameson Taylor, vice president of MCPP and vice chair of the Mississippi Faith Advisory Council. “Based on a similar program in Arizona, we believe this law will generate millions of dollars in new services. Tax breaks like these can increase donations by as much as 5 to 1. That means that for every dollar contributed, the return will be $5 in new and additional services. I can’t imagine a better way to leverage a tax cut for the hardworking families of Mississippi.”

The new law creates a $1,000 tax credit for married couples filing jointly (or $500 for individual filers) who donate to organizations that assist children who are either already in foster care or at high risk of going into the state’s foster care system. A similar $800 credit ($400 individual filers) is available for taxpayers who donate to organizations that serve children with a disability or that serve low-income families. The law also doubles the existing $2,500 tax credit for adoptions to $5,000.

“This law provides a tax cut for people who want to do something about the foster care crisis in our state,” Matis said. “Not everyone can adopt a child in foster care, but everyone can give a small donation. By encouraging non-itemizers to give, this law will help build up the nonprofit sector in Mississippi.”

Dr. Taylor added that Mississippi is the second state in the country to pass this innovative approach to help children in foster care, as well as, families in need.

“Diverse organizations across the state will benefit, including Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities. Most important, this tax credit will provide new tools and resources to the children and families of Mississippi to help them achieve a better life.”

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