system. There is no shortage of people who have plenty to say about
that subject. Instead, I would like to write about the California tax
Specifically, I want to put the spotlight on a section of the
California tax forms that many people overlook, and that is worth our
attention. That is the Voluntary Contributions section.
Over the years, Californians have established a number of
individual funds to which we can make individual contributions simply
by checking off a box on our tax forms. On the California forms for
the 2003 tax year, there are 11 funds set up for this purpose. Here
are a few of them:
* California Seniors Special Fund. Contributions to this fund are
distributed to the Area Agency of Aging Councils, which provide
advice on and sponsorship of issues of interest to senior citizens.
* Alzheimer's Disease Fund. About 500,000 Californians have
Alzheimer's disease. This fund, established in 1987, has provided
nearly $6.8 million for research and programs related to Alzheimer's.
* Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Fund. Contributions to
this fund are used to help protect and conserve Californian's
threatened and endangered species and the lands they need to survive.
* California Breast Cancer Research Fund. Breast cancer is the
most common cancer to strike women in California, killing about 4,000
women in this state each year. Contributions to this fund go to
research that can help prevent or cure breast cancer.
* Emergency Food Assistance Program Fund. Contributions are used
to help local food banks, soup kitchens and other assistance programs
feed California's hungry.
* California Firefighters' Memorial Fund and California Peace
Officer Memorial Foundation Fund. These funds go to the memorials
that commemorate the brave firefighters and peace officers who have
* California Missions Foundation Fund. These contributions are
used to restore and repair the great missions that are such a core
part of California's history.
These funds, as well as funds devoted to preventing child abuse,
researching asthma and lung disease, and other causes, are all
exceptionally worthy efforts. More important, contributions do not