Proposed $500 blood donation tax credit in California

The proposal is in response to the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever blood crisis after the pandemic severely hampered donation efforts.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The American Red Cross is experiencing its biggest blood shortage in more than a decade.

That’s why a California lawmaker is working on a new incentive to donate blood.

Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, introduced a bill in late January 1709 AB, providing a $500 tax credit to anyone who donates blood. The wording of the bill says that to be eligible you have to donate blood at least four times a year to get the tax credit.

If approved, it will come into force on January 1, 2023.

“I think it’s just a way to help people be more motivated, more in tune with what’s really going on in our world,” Rodriguez said, adding that last month trauma centers in Southern California had been forced to close due to blood shortages. “Now we live in 2022, no hospital should have to close due to lack of blood.”

The American Red Cross said the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hampered blood donations, declaring a blood crisis after two years of canceled blood drives, staff shortages and an increase in COVID-19 cases. Rodriguez, who has more than 30 years of experience as an EMS worker, said he hopes this bill will encourage more people to donate blood.

“I think now, because we’re seeing a severe blood shortage, not just in California but across our country, we need to think a little differently about how we can incentivize people,” Rodriguez said. “So why not give them a tax break if we could donate four times a year?”

He thinks it’s a win-win situation for everyone and he doesn’t foresee any problem getting it adopted.

“Get this legislation passed, give it to the governor, sign it and hopefully we’ll get it into effect immediately so we can start to see the turnaround because if we don’t, I mean, I don’t think there’s any other way to get people to donate blood,” Rodriguez said.

ABC10 reached out to Vitalant, one of the nation’s largest blood donor organizations, about the bill. They said in a statement that they “appreciated the efforts to raise awareness of the need for blood donation. We look forward to hearing more about this effort as it progresses.”

The American Red Cross has declared its first-ever national blood crisis