On Valentine’s Day, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, held a hearing on the importance of the income tax deduction for charitable giving. Chairman Camp, who hopes to advance a comprehensive overhaul of the complicated tax code, stated in his hearing announcement, “Public charities and private foundations perform invaluable services for our society, especially during this time of economic slowdown and high unemployment.... Because of the critical role that charities play, the Committee must hear directly from the charitable community before considering any proposals as part of comprehensive tax reform that might impact their ability to obtain the resources they need to fulfill their missions.” Indeed, he and other Members of the Committee heard from a wide array of voices regarding the importance of the charitable deduction and thoughts on proposals to adjust it. Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) have set up 11 working groups on tax reform, including one on Charitable/Exempt Organizations led by Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
NRB included its voice in the chorus defending the charitable tax deduction in letters from NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright to Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin. Dr. Wright declared the charitable deduction to be a proven policy for nearly a century and noted, “Many of our members are non-profit organizations that not only powerfully illuminate public needs, but directly work to help the hungry, hurting, addicted, and vulnerable in the United States and abroad.” He asserted that any diminishment of the charitable deduction could be potentially “devastating to their efforts.”
Dr. Wright also cited research from United Way Worldwide showing the vast majority of Americans believe in the value of the charitable deduction for non-profits and their communities. “[R]ather than capping or otherwise constraining this longstanding deduction,” Dr. Wright urged, “the federal government ought to expand opportunities for the charitable impulse of Americans to thrive.”
Notably, among those presenting before the Committee on behalf of the charitable deduction was Ruth Thomas of SAT-7, the largest Christian satellite network broadcasting into the Middle East and North Africa with programs in in Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi. SAT-7 CEO Terry Ascott will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 NRB Convention that is only two weeks away.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations
Published: February 15, 2013