No new breaks. Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed New York’s “farm to food bank” bill for the second time this week. The bill, which passed unanimously in the state Assembly and Senate and had broad support from almost 150 organizations, would have given farmers a tax break of up to $5,000 for donating fresh food to hunger relief organizations, and allowed growers to claim tax credits at 25 percent of the wholesale price of fresh food given to charity.
Supporters claim the tax break would have increased the amount of fresh, local food available to New York food banks. “For the state, this credit would have reaped four times its value in providing fresh food for hungry New Yorkers,” staff attorney Margaret Brown of the National Resource Defense Council writes in a blog post.
But in a letter dated November 28, Governor Cuomo outlines his reasons for vetoing the bill again. “I fully support the spirit of the legislation,” he states, but “it suffers from the same flaws as the bill I vetoed last year.” He goes on to say that the tax break would duplicate existing benefits (benefits that kick in at the federal level) and that it’s difficult to establish a fair market value for donated food. He also told reporters that the bill didn’t fit into the budget.