American Red Cross tax donations checkoff could benefit Southwest Michigan

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos has supported legislation to allow residents to make voluntary donations on their state tax returns to assist the American Red Cross in Michigan.

“For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross has helped millions of people,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Today, this outstanding humanitarian organization responds to tens of thousands of disasters every year. The Red Cross is there to help a family after a house fire as well as rushing in to help entire communities impacted by a hurricane. I was proud to support legislation to give all Michigan residents the opportunity to donate to the Red Cross with a simple checkoff 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 news of this legislation will allow the Red Cross and the hundreds of volunteers to continue the humanitarian work in our local communities,” said Tiana Gee, executive director Southwest Michigan American Red Cross. “The Red Cross Michigan Region will definitely benefit from this legislation. It’s another avenue for donors to support their designated charities in an easier format.”

Proos said, “While these donations would have no impact on the state budget, they could help a wonderful organization continue to make a huge impact in our communities. In addition to their humanitarian efforts, the Red Cross also is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. and our leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, first aid and lifeguard training.”

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 were approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday and have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available later on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.