State agency rejects Planned Parenthood tax credit

June 13, 2011

Planned Parenthood of Indiana said Monday it has lost a key fundraising tool because of a new law that strips the not-for-profit of state funding.

Planned Parenthood said its application for a Neighborhood Assistance Program grant was wrongly rejected by Indiana's Housing and Community Development Authority. The grant program allows donors to charitable organizations to get 50 percent of their money back as a tax credit and is designed to spur community services. For instance, a donation of $500 would net a tax credit of $250.

The IHCDA wrote in a June 1 letter that it had rejected Planned Parenthood's application because of the new state law barring the group from receiving state money because it provides abortions.

Planned Parenthood is challenging the law in federal court. The new law is also at the center of a showdown between the state and the Obama administration which has the potential to deprive the state of $4.3 billion in federal Medicaid money.

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said she was surprised when she received the agency's letter, in part because she does not think the state law applies to this grant program.

The grant is less a source of money for Planned Parenthood and more a source of money for the donors, she said. She said she did not know of any other pools of state money that might be shut off to the group.

"We're not looking for any more surprises," Cockrum said.

Grants in the past two years helped Planned Parenthood leverage more than $21,000 in donations, she said. Cockrum expected one this year would help raise about $10,000 to provide preventive healthcare to low-income men and women.

An IHDCA spokeswoman declined to comment on Cockrum's assertions, pointing only to the one-paragraph letter sent to the group.


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