Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tax Incentives for Breast Feeding considered by Congress.
The U.S. breast-feeding rate could see some improvement thanks to tax incentives in a new bill introduced on May 5 by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

Nursing mothers packed the crowd at the press conference introducing the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (H.R. 2122), many actively breast-feeding in support.

The bill would give employers up to a 50 percent tax credit for expenses incurred to establish workplace "lactation stations," purchase or rent lactation-related equipment, and hire lactation consultants. It would also make expenses incurred for breastfeeding equipment deductible for individuals as medical care expenses...

Both Shays and Maloney said that assuring a woman's right to express milk in the workplace and removing the stigma from breast- feeding are far more important than the tax portions of the bill. According to Maloney, studies show that children who are not breast-fed have higher rates of contracting numerous illnesses.

"We need to reverse the fact that the United States has one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the world," Maloney said.

As for objections from the squeamish, "Get a life," Shays said. [Tax Analysts]
Tax subsidies for breast feeding. How Congress works ... what can I say?