Oregon Senator Proposes Breastfeeding Tax Credits

June 25, 2009

Senate Bill 1244, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would create an income tax credit for "50 percent of the qualified breastfeeding promotion and support expenditures of the taxpayer for such taxable year." Such "support expenditures" would include:

(A) for breast pumps and other equipment specially designed to assist mothers who are employees of the taxpayer to breastfeed or express milk for their children but only if such pumps and equipment meet such standards (if any) prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and

(B) for consultation services to the taxpayer or employees of the taxpayer relating to breastfeeding.

This is another example of why our tax code is so complex and difficult to navigate. No doubt breastfeeding has supporters who think it's a good idea. But rather than relying on persuasion, or even direct spending programs that have to prove themselves each year, many special interests resort to using the tax code to encourage or discourage their vision of the world. Subject to less oversight and scrutiny, credits clutter up the tax code and distort decision-making.

Hat tip: The Perfect Substitute

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