Vinsen Faris, Chairman of the Meals On Wheels Association of America and Executive Director of the Meals on Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties, gave testimony today before a Congressional Committee urging lawmakers to preserve the charitable tax deduction. Mr. Faris spoke at the hearing of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives which is considering changes to the tax code that could affect the deductibility of charitable deductions.
"For us at Meals on Wheels, this debate is not about intricate details of the tax code - it is about the seniors we serve every day," Mr. Faris testified. "It is about the direct impact these decisions would have on the 8.3 million seniors facing the threat of hunger in this country." Mr. Faris was the only person testifying on how changes to the tax code could affect Senior Nutrition Programs.
Mr. Faris went on to say that Meals on Wheels programs are already facing a "quadruple whammy" due to rising costs, increased demand and need for services, fewer donations and budget cuts. Adding changes to the tax code that would have the effect of further reducing donations would, he emphasized, "compound reduction of donations."
The focus of the House Ways and Means Committee hearing is to examine the itemized deduction for charitable contributions as part of the Committee's work on comprehensive tax reform. In announcing this hearing, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) remarked, "Because of the critical role that charities play, the Committee must hear directly from the charitable community before considering any proposals as part of comprehensive tax reform that might impact their ability to obtain the resources they need to fulfill their missions."
After the hearing, Mr. Faris and his wife stopped by the office of Rep. Joe Barton to chat about several ways Congress and local communities could help the organization. The Congressman is a big supporter of Meals on Wheels, especially its efforts to feed those in need in Ellis and Johnson counties. Mr. Barton will be delivering meals in Ellis County on February 20th.