NEW BOOK ON TRANSPARENCY IN PHILANTHROPY
The Philanthropy Roundtable has published a new book by noted legal scholar John Tyler of the E. M. Kauffman Foundation, titled Transparency in Philanthropy: An Analysis of Accountability, Fallacy, and Volunteerism addressing recent calls for more transparency in private philanthropy and how philanthropic organizations can respond.
Rep. Van Hollen recently repeated his support for this 28% proposal on CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett. He indicated that he expects the President’s proposal to reduced itemized deductions to remain the same as in years past. All these signs indicate that we are looking at this proposal to be back in a few weeks when the budget is released.
The President released his FY2013 budget plan on Monday, February 13th. The document featured a 28 percent limitation on itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction, for households earning more than $250,000 a year. This was identical to the proposal included in his last three budgets.
As Congress and the president tackle deficit reduction, Americans show solid opposition to eliminating common tax deductions including the charitable deduction. A new Gallup poll reveals that nearly three-quarters of Americans don’t want to see the charitable deduction eliminated even if the goal is to lower overall income tax.
The current Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government expires at midnight on Friday, April 8th. As of this writing, a deal for either another “stop gap” or a long-term spending measure has not been reached. As a result, the government is due to shut down on Saturday, April 9th. That means that federal entities such as the post office, the Smithsonian Museums, and other “non-essential” programs will not be open. “Essential” services such as the military and utilities providers will continue to operate. While leaders on both sides of the aisle are working on a compromise, the amount of spending cuts as well as policy “riders” are still in dispute.
Federal Budget – Another Continuing Resolution
Just prior to the House and Senate leaving Washington for recess on Friday, March 18th, President Obama signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through April 8th. This 3-week CR cuts $6 billion from FY2011 spending levels and is expected to be the last of the so-called “stop gap” spending measures. When Congress returns to Washington on Monday, debate will ensue regarding a spending bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year which ends on the last day of September. This is sure to be a highly politicized discussion between Democrats and Republicans as well as between the House, Senate, and the Administration. At this point, is not clear what, if any, compromise can be reached prior to April 8th.
On Thursday, March 3rd, the President signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 18th. That bill contained almost $4 billion in cuts from FY2011 spending levels. While this measure averted an immediate government shutdown, it merely extended the debate on spending cuts for another two weeks. Some Republicans have expressed an interest in passing several “stopgap” funding bills like the CR, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is opposed to such a
strategy. Earlier this week he said, “I personally am opposed to more short-term [continuing resolutions (CRs)]. We have to get the long-term done. Long-term is becoming short-term.” Senator Reid then held votes on dueling spending bills Wednesday that would fund the government through the end of FY2011. Neither of these votes reached the 60 vote threshold necessary for passage and both chambers now go back to the drawing board to seek a compromise before the next deadline on Friday, March 18th.
A coalition of national nonprofit organizations, inclduign the Alliance for Charitable Reform and The Philanthropy Roundtable, have today sent a letter to President Obama asking him to reconsider his proposal to cap the charitable deduction.
Here’s an excert: As charities struggle to meet increased demands for their services and raise additional funds, we need to encourage all individuals, regardless of income and wealth, to give more to charitable organizations. Limiting the value of the charitable deduction does the exact opposite and would fundamentally change a tax structure that has contributed to a cherished tradition of charitable giving that is unmatched in the world.
Again, we urge you to withdraw any proposal that would limit the value of itemized deductions for charitable contributions in your FY 2012 Budget.
In just a few days, the federal government is due to shut down, absent a short or long-term agreement to keep it open.
Despite the perceived or real dysfunction in Washington, it has been quite a while since the government has closed its doors. You have to go back to 1995-1996 when the government shut down twice: for three days on November 14-16 in 1995 and for several weeks from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996. The whole affair proved to be very bad PR for Republicans. For those Republicans around now who were around then, there is no desire for a repeat performance.
Today, Joanne Florino, Executive Director of the Triad Foundation and member of the Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR), testified before the House Education and Labor Committee during a hearing on the impact of the arts community on America’s communities.
As the representative from the foundation community, Florino highlighted the important role foundations play in supporting America’s communities, and specifically the arts community. She spoke to the need to incentivize giving during this unprecedented time of need, and how President Obama’s proposal to limit on the charitable deduction is a step in the wrong direction.