Senate panel approves Jones legislation to allow tax donations to American Red Cross

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved measures sponsored Sen. Rick Jones to allow residents to make voluntary donations on their state tax returns to help support the American Red Cross in Michigan.

“For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross has been one of our country’s most outstanding humanitarian organizations,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This legislation would give all Michigan residents the opportunity to support the Red Cross in its mission by simply checking a box on their state income tax form.”

Senate Bill 429 would create an individual income tax checkoff in support of the American Red Cross in Michigan. This would allow taxpayers to choose to direct $5, $10, or more of their income tax return to the American Red Cross in Michigan.

SB 428 would require the creation of the American Red Cross Michigan Fund within the Department of Treasury. The fund would receive donations from the income tax checkoff to be given to the mid-Michigan chapter of the American Red Cross for distribution to all the Michigan chapters.

“The Red Cross currently responds to about 70,000 disasters nationwide every year — from helping families after a home fire to assisting entire communities impacted by hurricanes,” Jones said. “They also are the country’s largest single supplier of blood and blood products and our leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, first aid and lifeguard training. These donations would have no impact on the state budget, yet they could help do a tremendous amount of good work in our communities.”

In the 2014 tax year, nearly $629,000 was raised by nine funds with checkoffs on the state income tax form.

Michigan law limits the number of income tax checkoffs allowed in a single year to 10 and requires that a checkoff that failed to raise at least $50,000 in a single tax year for two consecutive years must be removed from the income tax form.

SBs 428-429 now head to the full Senate for consideration.