Georgia Senate unanimously approves foster care tax credit

Georgia Senate unanimously approves foster care tax credit

February 10, 2022 0 By Nyamekye Daniel

The Georgia Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would cut taxes for Georgia residents who donate to foster care organizations.

Senate Bill 370 would provide up to $2,500 per person in tax credits to taxpayers who contribute to organizations that help children who age out of foster care.

The Senate approved the bipartisan measure with a 55-0 vote. The proposal was backed by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who said it was a proactive measure.

“We have made great strides toward fixing Georgia’s foster care system, but we must secure the appropriate resources for aged-out foster youth in order to ease the transition into adulthood,” Duncan said in a statement. “I commend members of the Senate for prioritizing the hundreds of youth who exit foster care in Georgia each year, and I look forward to the full passage of SB 370.”

There are 25 charitable organizations that would benefit from the tax credit program, capped at $20 million a year. The donations would cover wraparound services for aged-out foster children, including housing, vocational services, medical bills, counseling and nutritional services.

Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, said he supported the measure but was concerned about the revenue loss for the state.

“Who’s going to replace the money, and how are we going to replace it,” Lucas said.

Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, the lead sponsor of the bill, described some of the challenges for aged-out foster care children.

Cowsert said 70% of girls aging out of foster care become teenage mothers, and more than 50% of sex trafficking victims come from the foster care system. He also said more than 50% of boys aging out of foster care are incarcerated within a year. Last year, 570 children aged out of Georgia’s foster care system.

“We started crunching some of these numbers, and as these kids end up in the prison system, you and I are paying for that, and it’s a whole lot more than this tax credit,” Cowsert said. “When they’re having babies, when they’re 18 that are going on welfare, you and I are paying for that. When they’re educated and get a job, they then are paying us income taxes and sales taxes that helped us recoup this money.”

The bill must be approved by the House before being sent to the governor.

This article was originally posted on Georgia Senate unanimously approves foster care tax credit