A hole in the parachute

It is our position that the elimination of tax deductions by those who itemize charitable donations as a solution to avoiding the fiscal cliff would be devastating to philanthropic organizations and to the millions who benefit. Charitable giving plays an important role in our society and enriches the lives of Americans in countless ways. According to Giving USA, 30 percent of Americans who itemized their deductions provided $170 billion, 79 percent of the money that individuals donated to nonprofit organizations.

It would appear this golden parachute-like solution to easing the national debt has some major holes. If people who itemize deductions reduce their giving by just 20 percent, it would mean a $34 billion drop in charitable giving – by far the largest decrease since the Great Depression. Ironically, 100 years ago, the federal government devised the charitable deduction to incentivize the wealthy to give at home while national funds were diverted to pay for World War I. Now, the government has taken on the responsibility of funding both; however, can and should it? Not to mention the collateral damage in the form of jobs lost in the nonprofit sector creating a rise in already high national unemployment. Contact your congressperson to preserve the itemized charitable deduction.

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