ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Monday again vetoed a bill that would give farmers a tax break worth up to $5,000 a year for food donated to food banks.
The vetoed legislation would have allowed professional farmers to claim a tax credit worth 25 percent of the wholesale price of the products they donate to food banks and other emergency food programs each year.
It marked the second consecutive year Cuomo has vetoed the bill. He had faced an end-of-Monday deadline to sign or veto it.
In a veto message, Cuomo said the bill has several "flaws," including the fact that a tax credit already exists for charitable food donations.
"It is well-established that farmers can already deduct the fair market value of charitable food donations on their tax returns," Cuomo said.
Cuomo listed several reasons for vetoing the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Rich Funke, R-Penfield, Monroe County.
The governor's veto message claims it is "nearly impossible" to come up with an accurate cost for the food, which would have a significant impact on the value of the tax break.
He also faulted the bill for being too vague and not defining many of its key terms, which he said could open it up to abuse if it were signed into law.
In a statement, Funke said he will "try again next year."
"I'm disappointed the farmers who work hard to grow the food we eat and want to give some away to those in need will be denied a common sense solution to cover their expenses," Funke said.
The state Farm Bureau said it is "profoundly disappointed" Cuomo vetoed the bill.
"This would help offset the cost of labor, packaging and transportation to get the food to regional food banks," the farmers group wrote in a statement.
The bill was one of 133 signed or vetoed by Cuomo late Monday.