Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A shocking grab from the needy

From Jean Blish Siers, Charlotte Area Coordinator for the Society of St. Andrew (and wife of Observer cartoonist Kevin Siers):

In 1984, the North Carolina legislature passed a law allowing farmers to receive a tax credit for up to 10 percent of the value of gleaned crops donated to charities.  So it is with profound disappointment that I learned of a small line in the tax bill Gov. McCrory signed into law this week:  As of Jan. 1, 2014, the gleaning tax credit will cease to exist.  While poverty and hunger increase in our communities, it is shocking that Gov. McCrory and the legislature would take away this incentive to care for the neediest among us.

Everyone pretty well acknowledges that the spring and summer of 2013 have been tough for farmers in North Carolina:  A long, cool spring kept crops from growing and producing well.  Weeks of rain kept farmers from fields, slowing harvest, and delaying plantings, as well as literally washing crops out of the ground or blighting them.And yet, just in July, farmers in the counties surrounding Charlotte have donated approximately 60,000 pounds (yes, that is 30 tons!) of good, edible produce through the Society of St. Andrew, the Gleaners.  Those crops were distributed to area hunger agencies, feeding the approximately one-fifth of area residents who are food insecure, meaning there are times during the week when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. This includes children and senior citizens, the most vulnerable of our neighbors. 

Children and school groups, Sunday school classes and Scout troops, individuals and families all give of their time to pick produce in the heat and in the cold.  People offer their time to drive their trucks to fields and deliver the produce to hunger agencies.  All of us who participate in these events come away with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing that a common sense idea – saving produce that would otherwise go to waste and taking it to those in need – is working in our community. 

None of it would be possible, though, without farmers.  These are men and women who work hard every day but take time to call Society of St. Andrew; they allow us in their fields to gather what is left.  Sometimes it’s produce that is already harvested but which they can’t sell at market – too big, too small, too ripe.  It takes time from their days to have us on their farms and in their coolers.  They help us load the trucks.  They offer tips on raising squash and tomatoes while they do it.  They are generous beyond belief.

No farmer raises a crop to see it go to waste.  The tax credit was a way the state could offer a small incentive for farmers to work with Society of St. Andrew and other gleaning agencies to feed the most vulnerable among us.  I hope that the legislature can see the folly of discouraging something so basic and decent.

For more information on the Society of St. Andrews, visit


Anonymous said...

Just commenting to say that 60,000 pounds is not 30,000 tons. I'm not sure if this is a typo or a math error...

The Observer Editorial Board said...

You're right, a typo. Thanks for catching, and we've corrected.

tnc said...

The state is now being run by people who if you can't contribute to their campaign, you don't matter. NC is waging a war on the poor.

Garth Vader said...

From the current law (105‑151.14. Credit for gleaned crop.
): "In order to claim the credit allowed under this section, the taxpayer must add the market price of the gleaned crop to taxable income as provided in G.S. 105‑134.6(c)."

So this means that if a farmer donated $10 worth of food (market price) that cost him $5 to produce, his taxable income increased by $5 even though he never saw the money. However the credit is only 10% of market price ($1 in the example).

Seems like this is simply a stremlining of the accounting (since the in-kind contribution is stilldeductible) rather than the "shocking grab" the article refers to.

Skippy said...

And not one single word about the damage being done to our farmers by Obama's EPA who actually threatened to regulate farm dust...

Or his is novel idea, start creating wealth in this country again.. Nah.

Unknown said...

I would be interesting in reading how much of a dent local volunteer and non profit organization work puts into hunger and other needs of the poorer among us.

Wiley Coyote said...

It seems your disgust is pointed in the wrong direction.

Sure, an incentive to farmers was great for them, but this is produce that is still going to be discarded regardless of whether farmers get paid or not.

So shouldn't farmers still donate the food without getting paid for it?

So how much was the tax credit worth for 60,000 total pounds? I didn't see that tidbit in the story.

Alannc44 said...

How long is that crazy rumor about farm dust being regulated by The EPA going to hang around? That comment was made by Senator Grassly who was being melodramatic and had nothing to do with reality. He's since acknowledged as much.

Because we want it said...

This story does not even tickle my give a poop meter.

This state is flat broke from all the free money that it gives out to people for nothing.

The spending is so out of control we are on our way to being like California that are playing with debate payment deferring payments and slap throwing it to the people that are already paying their share for the service they get.

Cut spending massively get rid of all this non sense that made sense when we had more revenue or a surplus.

If we dont then cut it out.

It is that simple.

Oklawaha said...

This is what happens when you replace Christian values with Ayn get today's Republican party. Sad. This is not the party of Reagan.

Andrew Thiel said...

Why is this credit necessary when we have 50,000,000 Americans on food stamps?

Andrew Thiel said...

Why is this credit necessary when almost 50,000,000 Americans are on food stamps?

Shamash said...

From Garth Vader...

From the current law (105‑151.14. Credit for gleaned crop.
): "In order to claim the credit allowed under this section, the taxpayer must add the market price of the gleaned crop to taxable income as provided in G.S. 105‑134.6(c)."


Based on this law, it would seem to make more sense to just let the crops rot.

Or just not report the charity...

An investigation into the ACTUAL SAVINGS to the farmers this law represented would be more informative.

Maybe the law really didn't matter much and was repealed because it was worth less than what it saved.

Garth Vader said...

Why did you print this when I pointed out that the law requires the farmer to increase their taxable income by the amount of the "donation"?

Batten you need to publish a PROMINENT explanation/retraction or you will have ZERO credibility.

Shamash said...

OK, I think I see where the "savings" for the taxpaying farmer comes in on this tax break.

Given a maximum state tax rate of 7.75% on income, a tax credit of 10% on the additional income from the gleaned crops (added to income in order to get the credit) amounts to a 2.25% tax credit for someone in the top state tax bracket.

For those in lower tax brackets, the credit will be higher up to a maximum of 10% for a farmer who has no income from his crops.

So, someone who allows $100,000 of crops to be gleaned will have an additional $100K of income taxed at 7.25%, but get a credit of 10%, netting a credit of 2.75% or $2750, provided their tax from their profits was $2750.

If their profits weren't that great, they wouldn't get as much.

Shamash said...

Also, according to the BBB analysis of charitable organizations, the Society of St. Andrews reports $10,816,529 in crop donations for the year 2011.

That's for the entire country.

So, this really looks like a small potatoes operation as far as taxes are concerned and not the "shocking grab from the needy" as portrayed by the CO.

Even if every state offered a 10% credit on this amount, it wouldn't be much over a million dollars for the whole country.

I doubt that it is nearly that great for the state of NC.

For what little difference this tax credit made, I suspect that most farmers will continue to do what they think is "so basic and decent".

Shamash said...

It would be nice if the CO would investigate and report exactly how much NC gave in tax credits for this law before getting all hysterical in their commentary.

Any takers on that?

Garth Vader said...


Of course not. The CO's only purpose in life is to serve as a partisan mouthpiece (and now, an outlet for nepotism as well).

BTW, I voted against McCrory in 2012.