Food tax credit advances in House

DENVER – Farmers would get a tax break, and needy people would get healthy food, thanks to a bill advanced by a Durango legislator Monday.

Rep. Mike McLachlan’s bill was an easy sell to the House Agriculture Committee, which passed it on a 12-0 vote. McLachlan, a Democrat, is sponsoring HB1119 with republican Rep. Tim Dore of Elizabeth.

The bill allows farmers and ranchers to get a state tax credit of up to $5,000 for food they donate to hunger-relief organizations. The bill is limited to professional agriculture producers who submit a form to the IRS certifying they earn farm income.

Food producers already get a federal tax benefit from donating food. Colorado hasn’t offered an additional credit since 1986.

Kathy Underhill, of Hunger Free Colorado, said 800,000 Coloradans suffer some form of food hardship.

The tax credits would take effect in 2015.