Cost of limiting charitable tax deduction higher than you think

In Judd Gregg’s Jan. 30 editorial “The way ahead on tax, debt and healthcare,” he states: “In order to keep changes to individual taxation revenue-neutral, all that needs to be done is a trade-off. There should be a balance between how low the rates should go and how high the limits on deductibility should go on big items such as mortgage interest and charitable giving.”

There should be deep concern over Gregg’s seemingly accepted notion that the charitable deduction will certainly be limited. He speaks as if it is a forgone conclusion, an inevitability that is only a bookkeeping measure that must be implemented to achieve tax reform. If lawmakers on Capitol Hill have already come to the same conclusion, they clearly don’t understand the true cost of limiting the charitable deduction.

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The Tax Policy Center found that a cap on the charitable deduction, as proposed by President Trump, would cost as much as $26 billion in charitable giving in one year. That is more than the combined operating budgets of the American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries International, YMCA of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, the American Cancer Society, United Way Worldwide and Feeding America.

The research is backed by public opinion. A vast majority of Americans support the charitable deduction as it currently stands and believe reducing or eliminating it would have a negative impact on charities and the people they serve. According to a poll in the Almanac of American Philanthropy, 79 percent of respondents said the charitable deduction should be protected; and 62 percent of respondents said capping the deduction would negatively affect their personal donations.

For 100 years, America has recognized the value of the charitable deduction, which has served as the bedrock of our altruistic society and is a model for the world. It is not a tax loophole, it is a lifeline for the millions of Americans who depend on the services provided by our nonprofit organizations.

Whether or not tax reform will include a cap on the charitable deduction as steep as what Trump has proposed is not known at this time. What is known is that any cap or limit on the charitable deduction will reduce charitable giving. That is a high price to pay for a trade-off.

From Marques Chavez, Communications Director, The Alliance for Charitable Reform, Washington, D.C.


Congressional Democrats: stop distractions, work with Trump

In my opinion, there are few things in existence that are more vicious than some career politicians. Granted, there have been a few who have taken up politics who have utilized the opportunity to do good, but unfortunately, far too many who ply this trade do so only to satiate their own egos, and they know it too.

Occasionally however, there arises an individual who truly wants to make a difference, and some of them really do. Unfortunately, however, many who are raised beneath the soiled sheets of unbridled ambition, or those who emerge from the swamps of generational privilege, find it far easier to engage in dirty politics and character assassination than they do to display any real talent of their own.

And when we finally do get someone in public office who is competent, the opposition party does everything within their power to toss one distraction after another in the way of our nation’s progress.

Don’t these people realize that as Americans we are all in this game together, or that our nation’s enemies are eating these distractions up?

From H. Rick Tavares, Campo, Calif.