Habitat for Humanity’s Check-off Box

If passed, Senator Karen Mayne’s Senate Bill 132 will create a tax check-off box that would help Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes contaminated with meth.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization designed to provide affordable housing for economically disadvantaged families.  S.B. 132 would provide Habitat for Humanity with another means of achieving this goal in Utah.  As Habitat for Humanity Salt Lake Valley Executive Director Stephen Tagliaferri explained in last Thursday’s Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee hearing, “Seventy-four percent of the families who come through our program are single mothers with children. Eight percent are families with at least one disabled person in the family, and one percent are widowed.”

S.B. 132 not only helps these economically disadvantaged individuals in finding homes, it also helps communities to rebuild contaminated meth homes. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that each pound of manufactured methamphetamine produces 5 to 6 pounds of toxic waste.  Sen. Mayne explained, “We feel that once people understand what we are doing, we are helping those communities with meth homes.  We are giving people that need housing a chance to have a home, and we are cleaning up the meth home from beginning to end.”

Rebuilding a Contaminated Meth Home
Habitat for Humanity volunteers rebuild a contaminated meth home.

Unlike most check-off bills, S.B. 132 aims to raise an astounding $30,000 in its first year.  As Sen. John Valentine stated in the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee hearing, “I wish that others who came before us for check-offs would accept that same challenge which is that, ‘listen, we believe in this enough that we can, in the first year, make the $30,000 threshold.’  So I very strongly support the substitute bill.”

Although it will be a great challenge to raise $30,000 this year, Habitat for Humanity is up for the test.  Ed Blake of Habitat for Humanity told the Senators, “I would encourage you to approve our ability to go out there, find thirty thousand people or more to back this, and hopefully be on that check-off box for years to come.”

S.B. 132 passed the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee with a favorable recommendation.  Also, KCPW and ABC 4’s Chris Vanocur both featured stories on S.B. 132, which now goes to the full Senate for consideration.  If S.B. 132 advances to the House, Rep. Jen Seelig will be the floor sponsor.

Senator Mayne and Others
From left to right: Ed Blake, Sen. Karen Mayne,
Stephen Tagliaferri, and ABC 4’s Chris Vanocur

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