A Florida congressman is calling for an additional voluntary check-off box on income tax forms to let Americans donate to disaster relief efforts.
This week, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., unveiled the “Donate for Disaster Relief Act” which, he insists, “would create a completely voluntary check-off on income tax returns that lets taxpayers elect to donate to a disaster relief trust.”
Hastings’ office noted “this bill is an opportunity for Americans to share our selflessness and generosity and be better prepared to adequately fund our response to an emergency situation” when the congressman showcased the bill on Tuesday.
“Last year, there were 53 major disasters declared, costing the United States more than $300 billion,” said Hastings. “As we continue to feel the effects of climate change, there are going to be more billion-dollar disasters, on a more frequent basis. While we cannot always predict when and where these disasters will occur, we certainly can be prepared. My measure allows for Americans to anticipate the need for disaster relief by creating a voluntary check-off on income tax returns, which lets taxpayers elect to donate to a disaster relief trust. This bill is an opportunity for us to share our selflessness and generosity and be better prepared to adequately fund our response to an emergency situation.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., signed up as cosponsors of the bill. Hastings’ proposal was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. So far, there is no counterpart in the U.S. Senate.
First elected to Congress in 1992, Hastings is one of the co-chairmen of the Florida delegation. He is the vice chairman of the U.S. House Rules Committee and the chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.