MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A bill providing income tax credits to people or businesses who donate to pregnancy resource centers in Alabama passed through the House this week.
The director of Mary’s Haven in Prattville says they rely almost entirely on donations, so something that would incentivize more funding would be a big help.
The center served roughly 1,300 pregnant women last year. Director Roberta Lee says they provide free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, materials like clothing, diapers and car seats, as well as financial help.
“So having a constant flow of donations helps us to meet the needs of our moms to make sure they are healthy so that their pregnancy is healthy, their children are healthy, so it’s very important,” Lee said.
Lee says since the state’s abortion ban took effect last year, they’ve seen more women in need, so a bill like this would make a big difference.
“I hope they understand that it is needed and that they will benefit from it, not just from donating and having that benefit, but who doesn’t want a tax credit?” Lee said.
The bill does require certain criteria in order for a donor to receive a tax credit, including that the center be open at least 20 hours a week, regularly answer the phone and cannot promote abortion.
The bill passed largely along party lines in the House Wednesday. Democrats opposing it argued it will take resources from the Education Trust Fund.
The bill’s fiscal note estimates a roughly $10 million annual impact to that budget.
“We cannot do anything to take away funding from education with the educational status that we have today. It hurts me when we look at a need in education, and our response is we can’t afford it,” Rep. Pebblin Warren (D- Tuskegee) said.
Bill sponsor Jamie Kiel says he views the money that would go toward these centers as a way to provide children with a successful start, ultimately improving education outcomes down the road.
The bill next heads to a Senate committee.