HARRISBURG – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, announced that the Senate Finance Committee voted this week to advance his bill to establish the first-ever pediatric cancer research fund in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 46, which passed the House in April, is now in position to be voted on by the full Senate and be sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature should they pass it.
The bill would establish a check-off box on Pennsylvania’s state income tax form to allow taxpayers to designate an unlimited contribution for childhood cancer research through the establishment of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. The donations, deducted from the taxpayers’ refunds, would go to a current list of four hospitals and institutions in Pennsylvania that are conducting childhood cancer research and designated by the secretary of the state Department of Health.
Caltagirone said that he is confident that Pennsylvanians will have the option to check the box on their 2018 state income tax forms.
“If this continues on course, I believe that Pennsylvania’s fight to find cures for childhood cancer will receive a tremendous shot in the arm,” he said.
Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among those 1 to 14 in the United States. It is estimated that a child is diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer every two minutes, with an average of seven children dying every day across the United States.
“It’s just heartbreaking, but we can do more to help find a cure for the kids,” Caltagirone said. “This bill would create an easy way for Pennsylvania residents to contribute to childhood cancer research that could save the lives of our children. Every dollar counts in this fight, and I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support of the institutions here in Pennsylvania leading the charge.”
House Bill 46 is part of a package sponsored by Caltagirone. The other bills introduced this session are:
House Bill 404, referred to the House Transportation Committee, which would establish a Pediatric Cancer Research registration license plate that would be made available through the state Department of Transportation.House Bill 407, also referred to the House Transportation Committee, which would allow Pennsylvanians to donate to pediatric cancer research during their vehicle registrations and driver’s license renewals; andHouse Bill 408, referred to the House Finance Committee, which would establish tax credits for businesses contributing to research institutions that are pursuing a cure for pediatric cancers. The bill would allocate $10 million in tax credits each year for the next 10 years.
“We’ve got to take an aggressive approach to fighting this devastating disease and the effects it has on a family,” Caltagirone said. “With these bills, we can do our part to help our research institutions with innovative research, better treatments and, maybe someday, a cure for childhood cancer.”