ACR Summit Wrap Up (VIDEO)
The fifth annual Alliance for Charitable Reform Summit for Leaders was held on March 5, despite Mother Nature’s attempt to unravel the travel plans of those attending. Our audience members heard from three panels whose presenters addressed the potential impact of tax reform on the charitable sector and encouraged more education of our elected officials about the damage that would be done to our communities by any diminution of private giving.
Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable, noted in his opening remarks, “It’s clear we still have work to do with members of Congress on our common message that philanthropy and charitable giving are central to American life, that public policy should encourage, not discourage charitable giving, and that we must preserve the full value of the charitable deduction, which encourages individuals to give away their money for the benefit of others.”
The opening Congressional panel comprised staffers from both houses of Congress and from both sides of the aisle. This panel discussed the recent developments in tax reform, including last week’s release of House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) tax reform discussion draft and this week’s 2015 White House budget. This panel was off the record, so be sure you sign up for next year’s ACR Summit for Leaders to get the scoop.
The second panel featured four charitable leaders from diverse organizations who presented exciting new approaches in communicating to policymakers the importance of private giving in enhancing the impact of the charitable sector in our communities.
Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer of the American Red Cross, kicked off the panel by highlighting the critical role of volunteers in her organization, whose financial value she estimated at $124 million each year.
“Private giving supports the infrastructure that allows us to deploy these volunteers. And any drop in private donations, I submit, would reduce our ability to deploy volunteers and volunteerism in America,” DeFrancis said.
Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, discussed how the nonprofit sector can make a compelling economic case in its discussions with members of Congress, particularly from the perspective of cultural organizations.
”… When we understand the importance of jobs to the economic health of our nation, I think a case can be made that we are a driver of a larger economy,” Moffatt said.
The third panelist to speak was Mason Rummel, president of the James Graham Brown Foundation in Lexington, Kentucky who encouraged her grantmaking colleagues to be actively engaged in educating policy makers about the work of foundations in their communities.
“This is about impact,” Rummel proclaimed. “We are trying to create impact and I emphasize that with all of my (Congressional) members and their staff—that together, each of us has a role in making great change and quality of life to our community.”
The final panelist to speak was Steven Woolf, senior tax policy counsel for the Jewish Federations of North America, who took a deeper look at some of the philosophical arguments the charitable sector can make in discussing tax policy issues. Woolf argued that money donated to charity should not be part of an individual’s tax base.
“Contributions should not be subject to tax because the individual is not consuming anything—he or she is giving it away,” Woolf said. “The charitable contribution is the only provision where no benefit flows back to the individual.”
*This video includes the opening remarks from each panelist but not the Q&A portion of the panel.
The final panel of the ACR Summit for Leaders addressed the need for the nonprofit sector to understand the broad appeal of the argument for lower rates in order to relay an effective message about the financial, political, and social value of private charitable giving. Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute and current Forbes contributor, and Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation and former Wall Street Journal editorial board member, offered two perspectives.
Moore began the discussion by arguing in favor of lowering rates by eliminating all deductions from the tax code.
“You need to do that to write a complete tax overhaul,” Moore said. “… There is no question in my mind that when tax rates are lower, the economy is better.”
Husock emphasized that the any tax reform initiative needs to be held to at least one particular standard.
”…Let’s hold charitable giving at least steady or increase it,” Husock said.
*This video includes the opening remarks from each panelist but not the Q&A portion of the panel.
ACR News 03.07.14 - Proposals Released and Summit Wrap Up
>> Federal: President Obama Releases 2015 Budget
>> Federal: Camp Releases Tax Reform Discussion Draft
>> Consider This: The Bottom Line
>> Top Reads: Cap On Deductions Proposed Again
Our newsletter this week is abbreviated due to ACR’s annual Summit for Leaders that occurred on March 5 despite Mother Nature’s attempt to unravel the travel plans of those attending. Our audience members heard from three panels whose presenters addressed the potential impact of tax reform on the charitable sector and encouraged more education of our elected officials about the damage that would be done to our communities by any diminution of private giving. A recap of of the Summit can be found here. Below are the opening remarks made at the ACR Summit by Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.
President Obama Releases 2015 Budget
On Tuesday, the President unveiled his $3.901 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal, an election-year document aimed at addressing Democratic priorities in the run-up to the midterms. The document is loaded with idealism for the Democratic base, focusing on programs for economic opportunity and alleviating income inequality, paid for by more than $1 trillion in tax increases on high earners, multinational corporations, banks, and others. This document will have a short shelf life, since top-line federal spending levels for both FY2014 and FY2015 were set in the budget agreement signed into law at the end of last year. While the President’s budget adheres to these spending caps put in place in December, it also proposes $56 billion in additional spending priorities, divided between military and domestic programs. President Obama drops the cost-saving reforms to Social Security that he included last year and seeks new money for infrastructure, education, and job training.
Of note for the charitable sector, the budget once again calls for a 28 percent cap on all itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction, kicking in for individuals and families in the 33 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent tax brackets. For the second year in a row, the President also called for a “Buffett Rule,” which would impose a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals and families earning more than $1 million a year. Also like last year, a deduction for charitable contributions would be backed out before the Buffett Rule would be applied, but capped at the 28 percent level. The budget proposal also calls for a streamlined private foundation excise tax at 1.35 percent.
Camp Releases Tax Reform Discussion Draft
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released his much anticipated tax reform proposal last week, the “Tax Reform Act of 2014.” Camp’s plan touches nearly every section of the tax code and includes major changes to the income, corporate, and international tax systems. On the whole, Camp’s plan would:
- Condense the seven existing income tax brackets into two, with rates set at 10 and 25 percent, and create an additional 10 percent tax that applies to specific types of income above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples.
- Increase the standard deduction, while eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes and repealing the personal exemption.
- Repeal the individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
Furthermore, an independent, non-partisan analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation says the plan could have a substantial effect on the U.S. economy, generating an additional $3.4 trillion in revenue over the next decade and adding up to 2 million new jobs.
As for provisions that affect the sector, there were some WINS, but lots of problems. Learn more at ACR’s webinar on Tuesday, March 18 at 3pm EST. We’ll have subject matter experts walk you through Chairman Camp’s plan and explain implications. We’ll also have politicos speak about what this plan means for tax reform. More details on the webinar will be made available on our website next week.
After a preliminary analysis, the WINS are:
- Extending the deadline for eligible charitable donations to April 15.
- Simplifying the private foundation excise tax by consolidating the current two-rate structure into a single 1 percent flat rate. ONE OF ACR’S TOP PRIORITIES.
And among the problems are:
- Charitable deduction floor—Camp does keep the charitable deduction for all brackets, but with a floor of 2 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Only the amount given in excess of that floor would be deductible.
- The Camp plan also streamlines the upper limit for deductible amounts of cash gifts to 40 percent of AGI. So there are some winners and losers.
- Requiring donor advised funds to distribute contributions within five years of receipt. An eligible distribution is a distribution made to a public charity. Failure to make an eligible distribution would subject the sponsoring charitable organization to an annual excise tax equal to 20 percent of the undistributed funds.
- Limiting most contributions of property to basis, rather than fair market value.
Chairman Camp took on the difficult task of crafting comprehensive tax reform legislation and we applaud his commitment to this effort. While his draft isn’t perfect, his staff is committed to working with the sector on problem areas. And there’s plenty of time. The draft is a step in the process. In fact, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said it is time for a discussion about tax reform, but avoided answering questions about specific changes or the future of the draft.
In the Senate, both Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) affirmed the dismal prospects for comprehensive tax reform in 2014, with McConnell going as far as saying he has “no hope” for completing reforms this year. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a joint statement saying they will work “with Members in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to move the conversation forward.” Wyden, however, also reaffirmed his focus on developing a tax extenders package that could serve as a potential bridge to larger tax reform discussions.
But Chairman Camp remains undeterred. Earlier this week, he said his Committee staff will continue to provide technical briefings for Ways and Means Members on the details of his plan. He also said he believes the Committee is “at some point going to have public hearings on this.” Camp did not indicate a specific timeline for these hearings.
ACR released a statement regarding Camp’s proposal, available here.
Both the President’s budget proposal and Chairman Camp’s the tax reform plan offer insight into how the Democrats and Republicans view the charitable sector. They provide tangible ideas for ACR and our colleagues to discuss and determine areas in which Members need more information. Even though neither document will gain significant traction on Capitol Hill, they could serve as the starting point for both parties when tax reform gets underway. We look forward to the opportunity to continue working with lawmakers as this process unfolds and we will continue to keep you up to date.
ACR on President’s Budget: Disappointed in Cap, Praise Streamlined PF Excise Tax
Budget Proposal Also Includes the Buffett Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR) issued the following statement upon the release of President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2015, which includes a 28 percent cap on the charitable deduction, the Buffett Rule and a streamlined private foundation excise tax.
“We are disappointed that the President has, for at least the seventh time, proposed to cut the charitable deduction,” Sandra Swirski, executive director of ACR, said. “Capping the charitable deduction at 28 percent could cost the nonprofit sector up to $9 billion a year, dealing a big blow to our charities and our economy. The charitable deduction is a lifeline not a loophole and we strongly urge the President to reevaluate his stance on cutting the deduction.”
The President’s proposal also includes the Buffett Rule which imposes a minimum 30 percent tax on incomes beginning at $1 million, but does allow for a charitable deduction providing credit against taxes owed. However, the charitable deduction in the Buffett Rule is also capped at 28 percent.
“While the so-called Buffett Rule does recognize the unique nature of the charitable deduction, it still caps that deduction which will ultimately result in decreased charitable giving,” Swirski continued. “ACR and our colleagues in the sector have worked tirelessly to educate our elected officials on the unique nature of the charitable deduction and the significant damage any reduction in its full value will do to our communities and most vulnerable neighbors. We look forward to continuing this effort in light of the President’s budget.”
The budget proposal also includes a streamlined private foundation excise tax of 1.35 percent.
“ACR strongly supports the proposed consolidation of the private foundation excise tax to a flat rate instead of the current two-rate structure, which has the practical effect of deterring foundations from increasing their grants during times of great need,” Swirski said. “Despite the consolidation, the proposed rate of 1.35 percent would result in a tax increase for many foundations and we urge a flat rate of one percent instead.”
The release of President Obama’s FY2015 budget comes on the heels of a tax reform plan released by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and a day before the 2014 ACR Summit for Leaders. Both proposals are likely to be among the topics discussed at this year’s Summit.
ACR Summit Panelists Express Thoughts on Tax Reform Plan
Two panelists slated to participate in next week’s Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR) Summit for Leaders published articles about the tax reform bill recently released by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).
In his Forbes column, Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute, explained that Chairman Camp’s proposed tax reform proposal gets the most fundamental part of its approach to charitable giving right but there are some reasons to be concerned.
Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation (and former Wall Street Journal editorial board member), wrote in Investor’s Business Daily that Chairman Camp should be praised for his attempt to rewrite the tax code but expressed frustration over the fact that there is little momentum to advance it.
Both men, along with a moderator, comprise the final panel of the Summit: Two Perspectives on Tax Reform and Private Giving Incentives. Take on opportunity to read both pieces and then make sure to register for next week’s ACR Summit for Leaders where you will be able to hear much more.
ACR Statement on Camp Tax Reform Legislation
Bill Recognizes Importance of Charitable Deduction, Streamlines PF Excise Tax
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR) issued the following statement upon the release of tax reform legislation authored by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).
“Chairman Camp has taken on the difficult task of crafting comprehensive tax reform legislation and we applaud his commitment to this effort,” Sandra Swirski, executive director of ACR, said. “By preserving a charitable deduction, this bill acknowledges the importance of the deduction as it encourages individuals to give their money away for the benefit of others. Some proposed provisions do raise concern and we look forward to working with the Chairman and other members of the Committee to improve the bill.”
Camp formally unveiled his bill today at a media briefing on Capitol Hill.
“This legislation does not reflect ideas solely advanced by Democrats or ideas solely advanced by Republicans, nor is it limited to the halls of Congress. Instead, this is a comprehensive plan that reflects input and ideas championed by Congress, the Administration and, most importantly, the American people,” Camp said in a news release.
ACR also strongly supports the proposed consolidation of the private foundation excise tax to a flat one percent instead of the current two-rate structure, which has the practical effect of deterring foundations from increasing their grants during times of great need.
Lawmakers Must Understand Philanthropy to Make Better Policy Choices
By Alicia Philipp and John Tyler
There’s an old saying in politics: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
As policy makers in D.C. and elsewhere debate public-policy changes that directly affect philanthropy, this idiom will become reality unless more foundations recognize their place in enhancing understanding of what philanthropy does and the constructive impact it has.
The issues on the menu are broad-ranging and varied, including changes to the private-foundation excise tax, the charitable deduction, and possibly new rules for donor-advised funds. What’s more, Congress might debate whether the definition of what qualifies as “charitable” should be narrowed and whether we need new regulations on nonprofit governance and what constitutes wise decision making.
Perhaps more important are the policies that affect our missions: policies on immigration, economic opportunity, climate change, health care, education, and so many other causes that foundations try to influence through their grant making. Foundations can have an important role in sharing their experiences about what’s already worked and informing policy makers about research that might clarify the implications of new laws and regulations.
Foundations have a choice. We can accept the status quo and passively submit to the changes thrust upon us, or we can actively engage with policy makers about who we are and what we do as individual foundations. Doing so can help policy makers better understand the broad impact of philanthropy, even as we educate them about grant programs that have achieved results and those that haven’t worked as well as we’d hoped.
As policy makers debate shifts in fiscal and social policy, society needs for them to understand philanthropy better than they seem to.
For instance, policy makers talk about charities, churches, and foundations filling gaps as fewer public dollars support the social safety net and other public services. The assumptions underlying the “gap filling” mind-set suggest that policy makers misunderstand philanthropy’s capacity and probably don’t understand what grant making is all about.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that policy makers don’t understand us. After all, the public doesn’t. A Philanthropy Awareness Initiative study found that more than half of “engaged Americans” could not name a single foundation on the first try, and fewer than one in six could cite an example of how a foundation had affected his or her community.
Policy makers need to know more about philanthropy and the billions of dollars we put to work every year to promote innovation and employment and to facilitate good health and productivity. In fact, as a study by the Philanthropic Collaborative demonstrated, every dollar foundations spend produces more than $8 in local and economic benefits.
Just as important, policy makers need to understand that philanthropy epitomizes the uniquely American spirit that combines self-empowerment with support for our neighbors—a spirit that existed long before there was a charitable tax deduction.
Our elected officials need to know more about us because inaccurate or incomplete information is likely to lead to policies that hurt philanthropy, and by extension hurt the communities we serve.
The best way for policy makers to learn about philanthropy is for more foundations to communicate directly with them. At a time when government money is tight and lawmakers are looking for more resources, foundations can no longer modestly rely so much on letting our activities speak for themselves or letting our grantees and trade groups do our talking for us.
Grant makers certainly benefit from organizations like the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the Philanthropy Roundtable, and others that are dedicated to a vibrant, relevant philanthropic sector. These organizations work energetically to promote and protect philanthropy. Their roles and work remain essential and valuable. But their efforts will be strengthened if more individual foundations strategically communicate directly about the vital work they do.
In many cases, individual foundations offer perspectives that are distinctively theirs—whether a private foundation that does research on important policy issues or a community foundation that attacks problems at the grass-roots level and provides essential assistance to local nonprofits. Many foundations can offer useful expertise and on-the-ground knowledge to legislative staff members looking for anecdotes, new ideas, or a fresh perspective.
For example, research by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that details what kind of businesses are more likely to add jobs to the work force has been shaping policy. The findings turned conventional wisdom on its head because they showed that young companies create more jobs over all, even when counting for the number of start-ups that don’t survive.
Also, Kauffman’s work showing the disproportionate tendency of highly skilled immigrants to start and expand businesses has contributed to new conversations on immigration reform, including introduction of bills in Congress to authorize “start-up visas.” Both sets of Kauffman’s research have been cited multiple times on the floors of Congress and have contributed to a surge in policies and legislation designed to spur start-ups.
Community foundations might engage policy makers from a different angle. While some foundations focus on specific causes, they often serve more generally as charitable endowments in communities. They typically operate at the grass-roots level, engaged in quality-of-life issues such as education, housing, social welfare, arts and culture—everything “charitable.” They understand community needs, organizations, and the people who are served, and they can help policy makers do likewise.
For example, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s efforts to help young people make the transition out of Georgia’s foster-care system led to new state legislation to help teenagers reach that milestone.
The foundation used its relationships with state and local elected officials and leaders of the child-welfare agency to assist lawmakers as they drafted and passed legislation that increased funding and other support to help young people improve their health, get a better education, and build financial assets—while also ensuring they had a say in what would happen to them after they left foster care.
This legislation could have an important role in turning around the current situation, in which 75 percent of foster children end up unemployed or in low-paying jobs after they leave the foster system and must provide for themselves.
People in philanthropy do a disservice by believing that policy makers will fully appreciate these contributions to society if we don’t tell them directly. So we believe that more foundations need to overcome their historic—even misinformed—reluctance to engage.
One reason for that reluctance seems to be the mistaken belief that direct contact with an elected official or staff members is considered lobbying, which private foundations are in most cases prohibited from doing. To the contrary, the law permits foundations to do a great deal to directly inform and educate policy makers and their staffs.
For instance, foundations whose missions are dedicated to changing policies in the arts or health care or any other cause are allowed to let members of Congress and the executive branch know about the results of their work.
They may even have a responsibility to do so: If a private foundation is investing millions to influence public policy in its chosen field but then fails to at least consider taking its work to relevant policy makers, is it doing everything it can to achieve its mission?
As Dean Zerbe, a former aide to Sen. Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, tells us:
“It’s really important for the foundation community—including individual foundations—to be engaged with members of Congress and their staffs. Foundations can and should speak out about the work they do to help those in need and strengthen our communities.”
If more foundations reach out to elected officials, it is society that will benefit the most. Policy makers will benefit because they will know more about their communities, their constituents, and philanthropy’s contributions. Foundations will benefit because, after investing many dollars in their missions, their experiences, information, and lessons might be used to shape better public policy.
A critical benefit for everyone is that policy makers and the public will better understand the extensive diversity of philanthropy’s scope and the pitfalls of one-size-fits-all approaches to policy, whether specific to philanthropy or otherwise.
For instance, philanthropic dollars are often put to work locally to test innovative approaches, but what works in Kansas City may not work in Atlanta. Because many foundations understand what works and what doesn’t, we should be sharing our perspectives with elected officials so they can avoid imposing generic policy solutions that won’t work nationwide. This outreach will ensure that government spends its dollars efficiently.
More foundations need to help policy makers understand that we do much more than give away money. As lawmakers are considering policies that affect philanthropy, they need to know that our work is about empowering ideas, meeting needs, and inspiring communities.
There are seats at the table for foundations, but we have to claim them.
Alicia Philipp is president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. John Tyler is general counsel at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo.
This article originally appeared in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and has been published here with permission of the authors.
ACR News 02.21.14 - Tax Reform Bill Coming, Wyden Takes Over
>> Federal: Wyden Takes Over Senate Finance Committee
>> Federal: Camp Getting Closer
>> Federal: Debt Ceiling Drama
>> Federal: ACR Summit for Leaders
>> Consider This: DC’s Focus
>> Top Reads: Dave Camp defies skeptics
Both the House of Representatives and Senate are on recess this week for President’s Day and will return to Washington next week.
Wyden Takes Over Senate Finance Committee
Last week, the Senate approved Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, replacing outgoing Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) who is on his way to China to serve as U.S. Ambassador.
In terms of Wyden’s immediate tax agenda, he said extenders, the package of annually expiring tax incentives (like the IRA charitable rollover), should be the first priority for the Finance Committee in 2014. He also said that extending these provisions for a year could “serve as a bridge for broader reform.” In contrast, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) insists tax extenders should be dealt with through comprehensive tax reform and isn’t ready to give up hope on tax reform yet for this year (more on this below). We believe these expiring provisions will be dealt with sometime this year but it may be late in 2014 – after the midterm elections in November.
From an insider’s perspective, Wyden has long been known for big ideas (including his own tax reform bill), and we don’t expect him to be shy about pursuing significant policy changes in his new post. Wyden is more liberal than former Chairman Max Baucus, and he represents a decidedly blue state, leading Democrats to believe he will be a stronger advocate for their agenda. However, he is also known for his bipartisanship, which gives Republicans some hope. Even Grover Norquist, the anti-tax advocate, had kind words about Wyden’s rise: “He’s one of the most sensible Democrats. While there probably shouldn’t be any Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, if you have to have one, Ron Wyden would be a fine choice.”
Finally, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) was tapped to fill the seat vacated by Senator Baucus’ departure.
Camp Getting Closer
On Wednesday, an aide to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said that the Chairman plans to release his draft tax reform plan next week. The aide noted that Chairman Camp did not have the green light from House Republican Leadership to mark-up a bill in Committee but that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would not stop him from releasing a reform plan. “No one [in leadership offices] are doing backflips that he’s doing this, it’s just, at this point, what’s the point of telling him no if this is what he wants to do and he thinks this is going to sell it?” the aide said.
It is unclear what form this document will take, as it is currently being described as a “discussion draft.” This could be legislative text or analysis of provisions with associated “scores” (the amount of revenue the government gains or loses through tax provisions). Regardless, when Camp’s plan is made public it will no doubt attract substantial attention, in part because of the three years of hearings and volumes of public input that have helped to shape the plan. That said, it’s one step in a long process that now includes a new Chairman of Finance who has his own, and very different, priorities. We are watching this closely and will send you any late-breaking news.
Debt Ceiling Drama
Before leaving town, the House voted 221 to 201 to pass a ‘clean’ debt limit increase – one without any additional legislative proposals – to lift the debt limit. Recall that the debt limit refers to the total amount of money the government is allowed to borrow to meet its existing payment obligations. Shortly after it passed the House, the Senate also passed the legislation by a 55 to 43 vote and the President signed it into law over the weekend. The bill eliminates the debt limit until March 15, 2015, at which point it comes back into effect and is set at whatever level of debt the government holds at that time. After that date, the Treasury Department can use “extraordinary measures” to avoid defaulting on loan repayments until Congress increases or eliminates the limit once more. As you may recall, the debate over increasing the debt limit brought the country to the brink of the “fiscal cliff.” Obviously, that won’t happen this year. Each party correctly concluded that there was little advantage to going to the brink.
ACR Summit for Leaders
As you have undoubtedly noticed, there is a lot going on with issues affecting the nonprofit sector: the Camp tax reform bill, the President’s budget proposal, a new Senate Finance Committee chairman. These are just a few of the matters that will be discussed at the 2014 ACR Summit for Leaders taking place on March 5. The Summit offers a half-day of programming to provide an insiders’ look at the political issues impacting philanthropy and nonprofits, as well as guidance on how to effectively advance your cause in Washington. Click here to register!
In the Washington tax world, all eyes are focused on three things.
First, we expect Ways and Means Chairman Camp to release a tax reform discussion draft next week. Releasing it is big news. But we aren’t convinced that rank and file Republicans are interested in pressing too hard on whatever he comes out with, given that it will inevitably have winners and losers in it. Indeed, many are saying tax reform distracts from the bigger message on the flaws in Obamacare.
Second, what will be the priorities of Senator Wyden (D-OR), the new chair of the Finance Committee, be? Sure, he has talked about extending expired tax provisions, but what next? The amount of tea leaf reading and prognosticating on that question has been beyond fulsome. We think it is fair to say that there will be some sharp differences from his predecessor, both in the way he runs the Committee as well as his priorities. Time will tell.
And third, “House of Cards.” Not really tax-related but a town-wide obsession. If you haven’t watched, we’d recommend playing it safe on the DC metro the next time you ride. We will leave it at that.