Food banks across Iowa ask for sales tax exemptions on equipment

Iowa – A storeroom at HACAP where items are placed at high levels, requiring a forklift. Foodbank officials hope that legislation clears the Iowa statehouse that will exempt their agencies from paying sales tax on such equipment.

Staff and volunteers at various food banks in Iowa are asking state lawmakers for sales tax exemptions on equipment, saying that it could help increase budgets for other uses that help their clients.

Barbara Prather, the executive director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, has pushed for this change for roughly 20 years. She said the cost of operating a food bank adds up quickly.

“In northeast Iowa, there are about 43,000 people that are food insecure,” Prather said.

Prather said the tax exemptions would help greatly when purchasing forklifts or trucks, the equipment needed to move food throughout the warehouse.

House File 2103 would exempt food banks from sales taxes. It’s currently assigned to the Ways and Means subcommittee.

Sales taxes from food banks contribute about $186,000 a year in the state budget.

Representatives from those food banks across Iowa estimate that money could instead feed one million more meals.

Prather and several other advocates will be in Des Moines Tuesday for Anti-Hunger Day on the Hill.

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