Introduction Of The Computer
Donation Incentive Act

by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo

In the House of Representatives, Tuesday, April 29, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Computer Donation Incentive Act, which would provide greater tax incentives for corporate donations of computers, software, and related training for educational purposes. Specifically, the legislation would give an enhanced tax deduction to companies for such donations to public elementary and secondary schools, libraries, recreational centers, and other governmental entities. It also would provide an enhanced tax break to nonprofit and government organizations that provide computer training to people with disabilities.

I am pleased to have worked closely with my colleague from Michigan, Representative Debbie Stabenow, in developing this initiative.

Bringing our classrooms into the 21st century is a tremendously expensive undertaking that cannot be accomplished by government alone. We need to encourage greater public-private partnerships for upgrading the technology in our schools to make them world class centers for excellence in education.

In Silicon Valley, private efforts, like Challenge 2000 and net day, have emerged because our high tech industry recognizes that a computer-literate work force is needed to keep companies competitive in the global market. And while some businesses have been donating computer hardware to schools for several years, they have only recently begun to recognize that teachers need to be trained to use that equipment if they hope to employ it properly in the classroom. The Computer Donation Incentive Act will go a long way to encourage more companies to invest in our schools, our people, and their own future success.

Under current law, computer donations from manufacturers to public schools qualify for a normal tax deduction worth the cost of making the equipment. At the same time, donations to private schools, colleges, and universities qualify for an enhanced tax deduction worth approximately the production cost of the equipment plus half of the profit that the manufacturer would have received if the equipment had been sold on the market.

The Computer Donation Incentive Act would make the enhanced tax deduction available for computer hardware and software donations to public K-12 schools, libraries, recreational centers, other government entities, and qualified organizations that provide computer training to people with disabilities. It would also offer the enhanced deduction to nonmanufacturers that make charitable computer contributions within 3 years of the date that computers are purchased. Further, companies could claim the enhanced tax deduction for donations of up to 8 hours of teacher training associated with hardware and software donations.

Other features of the legislation include: An enhanced tax deduction for computer contributions to nonprofit organizations that repair and refurbish equipment that is subsequently donated to public schools, other qualifying government organizations, and groups that provide computer training to people with disabilities; an enhanced tax deduction for donations of digital augmentative speech devices; a sense of Congress provision that one of the main purposes of the legislation is to encourage computer donations to schools serving low income communities; and a General Accounting Office study to be conducted before 1999 on the effectiveness of the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to help encourage companies to make a positive difference in our public schools, libraries, and recreation centers by supporting the Computer Donation Incentive Act.

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