Governor Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have given New York farmers a tax break for donating fresh food to food banks.
Under the bill, farmers would have gotten a tax credit worth 25 percent of the value of what they donated. But Cuomo rejected it, saying the bill was too vague, it is nearly impossible to calculate the value of food and it would duplicate existing tax benefits available for charitable food donations.
Kermit Bossard is with the Spencer Van Etten Food Cupboard. In the past, his group has received fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers, but it has been tougher recently.
"This year, because of the drought, they wound up having to sell most of that stuff and so we got very, very little. No apples at all," Bossard said. "If there was a farm-to-food-bank kind of program, there's a lot more incentive to really give food to the food bank because they've got some financial advantage for doing that."
The Farm Bureau said it is “disappointed” Cuomo vetoed the bill, noting that last year New York’s farmers donated approximately 13 million pounds of food to regional food banks through the Harvest for All program. Next week during the Bureau's state annual meeting, it is expected to announce the total for 2016.
"While the generosity of farmers is well established in New York, we are only left to wonder how many additional people could have fresh, local food on their dinner plates in the future if the Governor had supported this bill," said New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.
The lawmaker who sponsored the bill, Republican State Senator Rick Funke of Fairport, said the legislature will try again next year.