Spilka Advocates for Organ-Donor Tax Breaks
The state senator, who represents Framingham, added the amendment to the state's budget following the case of Krystine Orr of Framingham, who needed a kidney donation in 2007.
State Sen. Karen Spilka, whose district includes Framingham, yesterday added a Gift of Life amendment to the Senate budget which will create an income-tax deduction for Massachusetts residents who, while living, donate an organ to another human being.
The deduction can be up to $10,000 for travel, lodging and lost wages.
Spilka said in a statement she added the amendment so that organ donors aren't hurt financially by their altruistic organ donations.
“This legislation will ... ultimately save lives every year," she said.
Spilka added the amendment following the case of Krystine Orr of Framingham who needed a kidney donation in 2007.
In her statement, Spilka said by offering economic relief to donors, the state will save money by lowering costly and lengthy hospital stays for those who need transplants and reducing the need for dialysis, which can cost $50,000 a year.
Massachusetts will join 19 other states that have already passed similar legislation and 22 more states that are considering it.
The Senate budget will go to a joint legislative committee before being voted on by both houses and sent to Gov. Patrick.
Spilka was also involved in a bill earlier this month in which a joint committee of the House and Senate on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities issued a favorable report on Juvenile Court reform and services to children in crisis because of behavioral problems.
Rep. Kay Kahn of Newton, House chairwoman of the joint committee, publicly thanked Spilka for her willingness to tackle what Kahn said was an enormous task in a positive manner.
In 2005, Spilka and state Rep. Paul Donato of Medford, created a task force to examine how the state treats Children in Need of Services. In January 2007, Spilka filed legislation based on the task force’s recommendations to reform the CHINS system.
“Our communities are better off when we provide preventive services that are proven to keep kids in their homes and schools and avoid using the courts, police and probation to solve family issues," Spilka said in a writen statement. Spilka said An Act Regarding Families and Children Engaged in Services (S.66, H. 1294) marks a big improvement over the system which has been in place for 40 years.
The House and Senate bills are supported by a FACES (Families and Children Engaged in Services) Coalition lead by the Children’s Mental Health Campaign, The Children’s League of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Alliance for Families