Welcome to the Alliance for Charitable Reform’s biweekly newsletter. Here we’ll provide you with news and views on issues that impact philanthropy.
For a refresher on the issues, visit our Archives
Friday, July 11, 2014
Lawmakers returned to Washington this week after the Fourth of July recess and immediately turned to determining how to fund the Highway Trust Fund. As you may recall, current estimates show that the Fund (which is used to build roads, bridges and the like) could run out of money as early as August. Historically a bipartisan issue, recent efforts to find new funding have stalled over how to pay for it: spending cuts or tax increases. On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee debated and passed a bill that would replenish the Fund through May 31, 2015. The bill changes pension requirements and increases customs fees to offset the $10 billion price tag. It now heads to the House floor for a vote, though no schedule has been set.
Meanwhile, after Senate Democrats previously suggested a Highway Trust Fund extension just through the end of this year, Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a plan on Thursday that would replenish the fund through next summer. While this new timeline is parallel to the House’s plan, there are still small differences on offsets. The Finance Committee debated and passed its plan on Thursday afternoon, and it will now head to the floor for debate, potential amendments, and a vote. As of this writing, a timeframe for floor debate has not been announced.
Members of the ACR leadership team traveled to Washington on Tuesday for a full day of meetings with Members and staff of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The group discussed our priority issues within House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) tax reform discussion draft. We also thanked Chairman Camp and others for passing a bill in June that would permanently streamline the excise tax on a private foundation’s investment income to a flat 1 percent instead of the current two-tier structure. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL). This PF excise tax bill has been a top priority for ACR for the last several years. Our efforts got a big boost last year when several of our members were invited to brief Chairman Camp’s Nonprofit Tax Reform Working Group on the PF excise tax. We’re very excited about the Committee’s recent progress and very proud of our ACR members who helped make this happen.
Also on Tuesday, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wrote an op-ed calling for comprehensive tax reform, saying, “If I could make just one change in Washington, it would be to fix the tax code.” Ryan, who is widely expected to be the next Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee after Chairman Camp retires at the end of this year, went on to say that “true tax reform would both broaden the base and lower the rates.” This reaffirms his commitment both to comprehensive tax reform and to finding the lowest possible rate – only possible by limiting or eliminating many popular tax incentives like the charitable deduction.
The ACR group met with Chairman Ryan on Tuesday as part of our meetings, and he noted his strong belief in charitable services and the importance of private giving. The group did not discuss any specifics in terms of how he would treat the charitable deduction, or any other tax incentives, in any future tax reform plan.
We also recommend you take a few minutes to watch this video we put together of former congressional staffers explaining why it is so important to engage with your elected officials.
- National: Charitable Giving Chugs Along, Up 0.9%
- National: The IRS Challenges Tax Deductions for Facade Conservation Easements
- National: How to maximize your tax benefits from charitable gifts
- National: Tax Bills Approved to Increase Charitable Giving
- Opinion: Fix the Jobs-Killing Tax Code
- Opinion: Waiting for Action on Taxes
- Local: Middle of the Year is Great for Giving
- ACR Blog: ACR To Meet With Lawmakers About Camp Draft
- ACR Blog: ACR To Meet With Lawmakers About Camp Draft, Part II
- Multimeda: Serving Our Veterans
- Multimedia: ACR Speaks with Dr. Patrick Rooney About the Annual Giving USA Report
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